The New York Times reports, "Execution in Arizona Is Approved by Justices," by Adam Liptak.
The Supreme Court on Tuesday allowed the execution of an Arizona inmate to proceed, lifting a stay from a federal appeals court that had been based on the secrecy of the state’s lethal-injection protocol.
The Supreme Court’s order was three sentences long and said little more than that the lower court had been wrong to stop the execution.
But the move was consistent with the Supreme Court’s reluctance to intercede in the growing turmoil in the capital justice system caused by drug shortages and boycotts that have made it difficult for states to obtain the chemicals for lethal injections.
States have responded to the shortages by using new chemicals, some obtained from lightly regulated compounding pharmacies. Lawyers for condemned inmates have said they need information about the new protocols in order to challenge the execution methods as violating the Eighth Amendment’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment.
"SUPREME COURT ALLOWS ARIZONA EXECUTION TO PROCEED" is the AP coverage.
The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday allowed an Arizona execution to go forward amid a closely watched First Amendment fight over the secrecy surrounding lethal injection drugs in the country.
The court ruled in favor of Arizona officials in the case of Joseph Rudolph Wood, who was convicted of murder in the 1989 shooting deaths of his estranged girlfriend and her father. The state plans to execute him Wednesday.
Wood, 55, argued he has a First Amendment right to details about the state's lethal injection method, the qualifications of the executioner and who makes the drugs. Such demands for greater transparency have become a new legal tactic in death penalty cases in recent months.
Wood has one more appeal for a stay of execution pending before the 9th Circuit, Baich said. The habeas corpus challenge to his conviction and sentence will be decided by Wednesday.
Wood's case highlights scrutiny surrounding lethal injections after several controversial executions, including that of an Ohio inmate in January who snorted and gasped during the 26 minutes it took him to die. In Oklahoma, an inmate died of a heart attack minutes after prison officials halted the process of his execution because the drugs weren't being administered properly.
States have refused to reveal details such as which pharmacies are supplying lethal injection drugs and who is administering them because of concerns over harassment.
"Arizona execution is back on as Supreme Court reverses 9th Circuit," is by Maya Srikrishnan for the Los Angeles Times.
Arizona's execution of Joseph Wood was back on for Wednesday after the U.S. Supreme Court vacated a preliminary injunction imposed by the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.
In overturning the 9th Circuit on Tuesday, the high court said a district court judge had not abused his discretion in denying Wood’s motion for an injunction.
Wood, 55, contends that Arizona is violating his 1st Amendment rights in denying him information about the lethal drugs that will be used in his execution and the qualifications of his execution team.
The Washington Post reports, "Supreme Court overturns stay, allowing Arizona execution to proceed," by Mark Berman.
In vacating the appeals court’s stay, the Supreme Court said that a district judge who had denied Wood’s request for a stay “did not abuse his discretion.” This application to vacate the stay was presented to Justice Anthony M. Kennedy and then to the entire court.
No explanation was offered for the decision to deny Wood’s request for a stay, which was also referred by Kennedy to the entire court and then denied.
The appeals court panel that had stayed the execution had agreed that more information was necessary to properly review the execution protocols that will be used to kill Wood. “We, and the public, cannot meaningfully evaluate execution protocol cloaked in secrecy,” the panel’s ruling on Saturday stated.
Earlier coverage of Joseph Wood's Arizona lethal injection challenge begins at the link.