ARIZONA (USA): JEFFREY LANDRIGAN EXECUTED
October 26, 2010: Jeffrey Landrigan, 50, native american, was executed at the Arizona State Prison Complex in Florence.
Landrigan had been sentenced to death in 1990 for the 1989 murder of Chester Dean Dyer. Landrigan's execution moved relatively quickly after the U.S. Supreme Court lifted a temporary restraining order that had been imposed Monday by a U.S. District Court judge in Phoenix and affirmed by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
The court imposed the order as it tried to force Arizona to disclose where and how it had obtained its supply of sodium thiopental, 1 of 3 drugs used in Arizona executions. Attorneys had been battling for days over the issue. The high court, in a terse 1-page order issued after 7 p.m. Tuesday, agreed by a 5-4 decision with Arizona prosecutors that there was no reason to force disclosure. "There was no showing that the drug was unlawfully obtained, nor was there an offer of proof to that effect," the court order said. Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan dissented, voting to keep the stay in place. Justices Anthony Kennedy, Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Antonin Scalia and John Roberts were in the majority, lifting the stay. Thiopental is a barbiturate that renders the condemned person unconscious so he or she cannot feel suffocation or pain induced by the 2nd and 3rd drugs administered during execution. The sole U.S. manufacturer and only apparent supplier of thiopental approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has temporarily ceased production of the drug. Landrigan's attorneys wanted assurances that Arizona's thiopental had been lawfully obtained and would be effective, so as not to constitute cruel and unusual punishment. The state resisted disclosing the information, citing a state law concealing the identities of executioners and all people with "ancillary" functions needed to carry out the execution. However, Attorney General Terry Goddard revealed to an Arizona Republic reporter late Monday that the drug had come from Britain. When an appellate panel late Tuesday afternoon agreed to leave the federal restraining order in place until Arizona disclosed more about its thiopental supply, Goddard immediately appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Within several hours, the high court lifted the stay, noting: "There is no evidence in the record to suggest that the drug obtained from a foreign source is unsafe. The district court granted the restraining order because it was left to speculate as to the risk of harm. . . . But speculation cannot substitute for evidence that the use of the drug is 'sure or very likely to cause serious illness and needless suffering.'"
Landrigan becomes the 1st condemned inmate to be put to death this year in Arizonad and the 24th overall since the state resumed capital punishment in 1992. Landrigan becomes the 44th condemned inmate to be put to death this year in the USA and the 1232nd overall since the nation resumed executions on January 17, 1977. (Sources: Arizona Republic & Rick Halperin, 26/10/2010)