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Univ. of San Diego School of Law

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Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Judge Rejects Novel First Amendment Argument to Halt Execution

From Findlaw.com:  "A federal judge Friday rejected a death row inmate's request to halt his upcoming execution on grounds that a chemical used to paralyze condemned prisoners during lethal injections could impair their free speech rights.  Barring a successful appeal, U.S. District Judge Jeremy Fogel's decision means that convicted double murderer Donald Beardslee will be executed as scheduled at San Quentin on Jan. 19. Legal experts said Beardslee's appeal was the first argument of its kind in death penalty law. But Fogel was unpersuaded, saying at a hearing Thursday that Beardslee 'hasn't shown a sufficient violation of his constitutional rights.' He took the case under submission and issued his ruling Friday afternoon. Beardslee argued in an application for a temporary restraining order to halt his execution that pancuronium bromide, the second of three chemicals injected into condemned inmates at executions, could violate his First Amendment rights by preventing him from telling witnesses that he was uncomfortable or in pain.  But in a seven-page ruling, Fogel said he was unconvinced that there was any chance that an inmate would be conscious when receiving the paralytic drugs because doctors first administer a strong barbiturate, sodium pentothal. 'Even with protocols under which only two grams of sodium pentothal -- as opposed to the five grams used in California -- are to be administered, the likelihood of such an error occurring is so remote as to be nonexistent,' Fogel said."  More . . .  [Mark Godsey]

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Some lawyers should be beaten senseless (assuming that's not redundant) for wasting the court's time and my tax dollars: A federal judge Friday rejected a death row inmate's request to halt his upcoming execution on grounds that a chemical used... [Read More]

Tracked on Jan 14, 2005 8:25:37 AM

Comments

Boy, I'm against the death penalty, but this one is a stretch. I mean, if they are going to take you out of the game, the incidental restriction on your free speech rights is rather trivial.

Posted by: | Jan 11, 2005 7:29:37 PM

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