"Man Sues Oklahoma Over Brother's Botched Execution," is AP coverage filed by Sean Murphy, via ABC News.
The botched execution of an Oklahoma inmate last spring that led to a moratorium while the state reconsidered its lethal injection protocols was "barbaric" and violated the inmate's constitutional protection from cruel and unusual punishment, his brother contends in a lawsuit.
In his lawsuit filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Oklahoma City, Gary Lockett says the April 29 execution of his brother Clayton Lockett, which took nearly an hour to complete, also contradicted international law and "elementary concepts of human decency."
The Guardian posts, "Doctor involved in botched execution 'experimented' on inmate, suit claims," by Ed Pilkington.
The family of Clayton Lockett, the death row inmate in Oklahoma who suffered a long and apparently traumatic execution in April, is suing a family doctor who they allege actively participated in the botched lethal injection process that killed him.
The legal complaint, lodged with the federal court for the western district of Oklahoma on Tuesday, names Dr Johnny Zellmer as a defendant both in his individual and official capacity. The lawsuit accuses him of engaging “in human medical experimentation in torturing Clayton Lockett to death”, and says that his participation in the execution was against international protocols established at the post-second world war Nuremberg trials of Nazi doctors.
The naming of Dr Zellmer under court privilege is a rare instance of the identity of a physician who allegedly participated in an execution coming to light. Death penalty states, including Oklahoma, go to great lengths to guard the secrecy of their execution teams.
The position of doctors is particularly sensitive as physicians take the Hippocratic Oath to show “utmost respect for human life”. Where doctors have been present in the death chamber, their role has in most cases been tightly limited to assessing whether the prisoner is unconscious and then officially pronouncing death.
"Clayton Lockett Botched Execution: Denver's David Lane Files Suit Over 'Disgrace to USA'," is by Michael Roberts for Denver-based Westword.
Attorney David Lane has long been among the most prominent opponents of capital punishment in Colorado. You'll recall that he represented Edward Montour, who was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole earlier this year after questions about the death that led to his initial imprisonment prompted prosecutors to drop a long-running death-penalty bid over a prison murder.
Now, Lane is taking on a case with a huge national profile: a lawsuit against assorted Oklahoma officials and co-defendants (including a doctor who previously had not been publicly identified) over the botched execution of convicted killer Clayton Lockett earlier this year.
Earlier news of the civil lawsuit is in yesterday's roundup of Oklahoma lethal injection developments.