The Associated Press reports, "Federal judge delays Louisiana's plan to execute man next week; convicted of killing stepson, by Melinda DeSlatte. It's via The Republic.
Louisiana cannot execute a DeSoto Parish man next week because the state has provided too little information about the drug that will be used in the lethal injection and the execution methods, a federal judge ruled Thursday.
U.S. District Judge James Brady canceled the Feb. 13 execution date for Christopher Sepulvado, who was convicted of the beating and scalding death of his 6-year-old stepson two decades ago.
Brady said without more details about the protocol the Louisiana State Penitentiary plans to use in preparing for and carrying out the injection, lawyers for Sepulvado cannot protect his right against cruel and unusual punishment under the Eighth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
The state will have the opportunity to execute Sepulvado, Brady said, adding, "But it must do so in a constitutional manner."
Until this week, the Department of Corrections hadn't confirmed it switched from a three-chemical lethal injection process to a one-drug execution method using pentobarbital.
The department gave the name of the drug it plans to use in a hearing in Brady's court, but offered no further details to Sepulvado's lawyers about how and when it was purchased, what training was provided to prison staff, who will carry out the execution and what type of medical supervision if any is involved.
The Baton Rouge Advocate posts, "Federal judge calls off execution scheduled for Wednesday," by Bill Lodge.
U.S. District Judge James Brady also ordered Thursday morning that the attorneys for the state Department of Public Safety and Corrections provide attorneys for the inmate with information sought about how the state carries out the death penalty.
Brady said the execution is stayed until further notice from his court.
Brady held a hearing in the Sepulvado case earlier this week during which an attorney for state corrections officials said the department has replaced a three-chemical lethal injection formula with a single dose of pentobarbital. The Tuesday hearing was held for Sepulvado’s attorneys to express concerns about the three-chemical formula possibly causing an agonizing death.
"Federal judge halts execution scheduled for next week," by John Simerman for the New Orleans Times-Picayune.
A federal judge on Thursday stayed the scheduled execution of Christopher Sepulvado, who was due to die by lethal injection on Wednesday (Feb. 13). U.S. District Judge James Brady of the Middle District of Louisiana stopped the execution pending more information on the state's lethal injection protocol.
Brady had allowed Sepulvado to intervene Wednesday in a federal lawsuit, Hoffman v. Jindal, challenging the state's lethal injection protocol. The injunction Thursday means that Sepulvado's execution is on hold indefinitely while the Hoffman case proceeds, said Gary Clements, director of the Capital Post Conviction Project of Lousiana
"They have never given us everything in writing. They've never given us a document from the state or the department of corrections or anybody. They've not given us a protocol," Clements said. "We're still in the dark about a huge amount of stuff. What's the expiration date on this? The federal government has very strict rules on the inventorying of these drugs.
"Right now their protocol is non-existent to us."
The Louisiana Supreme Court late last month denied Sepulvado's request for a stay of execution. Earlier this week, the state Board of Pardons denied his clemency petition.
Sepulvado's attorneys will return to state court Friday (Feb. 8) to press corrections officials to turn over documents revealing its execution procedure and the drug protocol, under public records laws.
Earlier coverage of Louisiana lethal injection issues begins at the link.