USA - U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan (District of Columbia) again halted federal executions

USA - U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan

13 July 2020 :

A U.S. district judge on Monday ordered a new delay in federal executions, hours before the first lethal injection was scheduled to be carried out at the federal prison of Terre Haute in Indiana. The Trump administration immediately appealed to a higher court, asking that the executions move forward. U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan (District of Columbia) said there are still legal issues to resolve and that “the public is not served by short-circuiting legitimate judicial process.” Chutkan said the inmates have presented evidence showing that the government’s plan to use only pentobarbital to carry out the executions “poses an unconstitutionally significant risk of serious pain.” Chutkan said the inmates produced evidence that, in other executions, prisoners who are given pentobarbital suffered “flash pulmonary edema”, which she said interferes with breathing and produces sensations of drowning and strangulation. The inmates have identified alternatives, including the use of an opioid or anti-anxiety drug at the start of the procedure or a different method altogether, a firing squad, Chutkan said. The Justice Department immediately appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.


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