CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Experts Criticize Maryland's Lethal Injection Administrators

From In the most detailed public assessment of the people who perform Maryland's executions, two doctors offered a blistering critique in federal court yesterday of the men and women assigned to carry out the state's lethal injection procedures, describing them as poorly trained and unqualified for their jobs.

Testifying in a lawsuit filed by death row inmate Vernon L. Evans Jr., the physicians criticized execution team members' understanding of intravenous systems and of signs that an inmate being put to death might be conscious, and one doctor concluded that some don't comprehend their individual responsibilities on the night of an execution.

Asked by an attorney for the state whether he found it "reassuring" that team members practice monthly and then weekly as a scheduled execution approaches, Dr. Mark J.S. Heath responded, "Not with this group of people, I don't. The totality of all their knowledge is grossly inadequate," Heath, an anesthesiologist and assistant professor at Columbia University, testified. "Them spending time together ... is likely to lead them further astray into other areas of misconception."

Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]

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