"Hickenlooper may announce decision on Nathan Dunlap's fate Wednesday," is the breaking news report by Ryan Parker at the Denver Post.
A decision from Governor John Hickenlooper whether Nathan Dunlap will be executed for the Chuck E. Cheese killings may come as soon as Wednesday.
Eric Brown, spokesman for the governor's office told The Denver Post on Tuesday night an announcement on Wednesday was "not out of the question."
Hickenlooper has met with dozens of advocates on both sides of the issue since Arapahoe County District Judge William Sylvester set the week of Aug. 18 as the time Dunlap should die for killing three teenage employees and their 50-year-old manager during the robbery of a Chuck E. Cheese's restaurant in Aurora nearly 20 years ago.
The acting Department of Corrections chief will pick the exact date of execution.
A press conference has been scheduled at the state Capitol Wednesday afternoon by the Arapahoe District Attorney's office. The DA originally planned a Friday news conference.
The Denver Post also reports, "ACLU suit: Public is entitled to know how Nathan Dunlap will be killed," by Karen Augé.
The ACLU lawsuit asks the court to compel the corrections department to make public documents outlining exactly how an execution would be carried out, as well as the training those who will administer the deadly drugs will receive.
"I think the DOC is infringing, without adequate justification, on the public's legitimate right to information with regard to what surely is one of its most serious undertakings," said Mark Silverstein, legal director of ACLU of Colorado.
So far, the DOC has refused requests by attorneys for Dunlap and by media outlets, including The Post, to provide that information.
The Colorado Independent reports, "Nathan Dunlap Execution: Colorado Officials Decline To Detail How Dunlap Will Be Executed," by Susan Greene.
On Tuesday, the ACLU filed suit in Denver District Court, arguing that information about the execution would facilitate public discussion about the death penalty here. Debate over execution by lethal injection often includes consideration of how the injection can be administered least painfully and of the ethical questions the procedure raises for the pharmacists supplying the drugs, for example.
“By refusing to disclose the details of the execution procedure, including the drug or drugs that may be used and how they are obtained, as well as information about the companies that may be supplying the chemicals, CDOC infringes, without adequate justification, on the public’s legitimate right to information about how its government operates with regard to one of its most serious undertakings,” said ACLU of Colorado Legal Director Mark Silverstein in a release.
The ACLU complaint cites the Colorado Board of Pharmacy Rules of Professional Conduct, which prohibits “any practice which detrimentally affects the patient” and state that a “pharmacist may not dispense a prescription drug or a controlled substance based on an order that does not list a specific patient.”
"Nathan Dunlap Death Penalty Case: ACLU Files Lawsuit To Reveal Execution Protocols," is by Andrea Rael for Huffington Post.
The lawsuit seeks to compel the state's Department of Corrections to reveal its communications with pharmacies regarding what drug or drugs will be used to carry out the execution of convicted death row inmate Nathan Dunlap.
“By refusing to disclose the details of the execution procedure, including the drug or drugs that may be used and how they are obtained, as well as information about the companies that may be supplying the chemicals, CDOC infringes, without adequate justification, on the public’s legitimate right to information about how its government operates with regard to one of its most serious undertakings,” said ACLU of Colorado Legal Director Mark Silverstein.
Last month the CDOC sent a letter to compounding pharmacists requesting “sodium thiopental, pentobarbital, pancuronium bromide, potassium chloride, or similar drug or drugs that the CDOC can purchase” in preparation for what may be the state's first execution in over 15 years. Colorado has only put one man to death in the past 45 years.
The letter had been sent by then-CDOC Director Tom Clements to 97 compounding pharmacies in the state just before his death in March, and was prompted by the rejection of Dunlap's appeals to the U.S. Supreme Court.
"For the first time since 1997, the CDOC is facing the task of carrying out an execution," Clements wrote in the letter. "I am reaching out to compounding pharmacies throughout the state of Colorado in order to comply with state law that the CDOC acquire sodium thiopental or other equally or more effective substance to cause death."
The ACLU's complaint also mentions that the Colorado Board of Pharmacy Rules of Professional Conduct prohibits “any practice which detrimentally affects the patient.”
“If compounding pharmacies in Colorado plan to participate in Colorado’s next execution, the public has a right to know,” said Silverstein, “and the State Board of Pharmacy might be interested in investigating whether pharmacies violate their license and state rules when they supply a drug for the express purpose of killing rather than healing.”
Think Progress posts, "In Colorado, Blacks Make Up 4 Percent Of The Population And 100 Percent Of Death Row." It's by Nicole Flatow.
Few dispute that Nathan Dunlap committed a horrific crime and murdered several people at a Chuck E. Cheese. But judges, university professors, and other prominent state leaders are urging Gov. Hickenlooper to commute Dunlap’s sentence, both because crucial errors that defined his trial may have led him to get a harsher sentence than others, and because killing anyone under the perverted state system would be a miscarriage of justice. According to letters filed with Hickenlooper’s office:
- All three people on death row are black men. In a state that is only 4.3% African American, Colorado’s death row is 100% African American.
- All three men on death are from the same one county, out of Colorado’s 64.
- All three men committed their crime when they were under the age of 21.
- Two law professors who studied Colorado’s application of the death penalty concluded it was unconstitutional, after finding that prosecutors pursue the death penalty in less than one percent of the cases where it is an option, and that the state failed to set “clear statutory standards for distinguishing between the few who are executed and the many who commit murder.”
“It appears that race, geography and youth largely determines who gets the death penalty in Colorado,” wrote a group of NAACP leaders in a letter urging Gov. Hickenlooper to grant clemency. They note that not a single black juror served on the panel that sentenced Dunlap to death.
Earlier coverage of Nathan Dunlap's case begins at the link. In the next post, a link to Andrew Cohen's latest writing on clemency for Dunlap.