The Lens posts, "With execution delayed, lawyer argues for disclosures about lethal injection drug," by Della Hasselle.
Death row inmate Christopher Sepulvado’s death warrant has been cancelled, giving his lawyers more time to argue that the state’s lethal injection method violates his constitutional rights.
In a motion filed Thursday, lawyer Gary Clements does just that, asking the full U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit to reconsider his argument that Sepulvado must be provided with more information about how he is to be executed with a single drug, pentobarbital, rather than the three-drug cocktail used by the state before.
Last week, the Louisiana Supreme Court ruled that a state judge improperly issued Sepulvado’s death warrant. That means Sepulvado’s execution will not go forward on Nov. 5.
Sepulvado won a stay of execution in February, arguing that his due-process rights had been violated because the state hadn’t described its execution protocol and hadn’t provided information on how it got the drug that would kill him.
Sepulvado’s lawyers have questioned the efficacy of the state’s supply of pentobarbital, and the state hasn’t disclosed whether its supply of the drug has expired. The Lens has also pursued answers to that question.
A three-judge panel of the Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit reversed this stay in August, noting that no other appellate court had recognized this due-process claim. “We decline to be the first,” they wrote.
In the plea for rehearing, Clements argued that the execution rules must be reexamined because death penalty practices in the U.S. are not static.
He pointed out that sodium thiopental, part of the three-drug cocktail used to execute prisoners around the country, had become unavailable in the past three years. So states have switched to a single drug, pentobarbital.
However, with a maximum shelf life of three years, states’ supplies of pentobarbital are expiring.
The Shreveport Times reported on Saturday, "State Supreme Court vacates child killer's execution." It was written by Vickie Welborn.
The Louisiana Supreme Court today granted a defense motion to vacate the warrant of execution for child killer Chris Sepulvado.
Judge Robert Burgess last month set the execution date for Nov. 5. However, the state's high court, in an order released today, said the trial court erred in issuing a warrant of execution before the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals had issued a mandate.
U.S. District Judge James Brady’s ruling was not final yet because Sepulvado was given until today to challenge the decision.
“Jurisdiction rests with the federal appellate court until a mandate has issued. A federal district court order, though vacated on appeal, remains in effect until the issuance of an appellate court mandate. … Here, the trial court erred in issuing a warrant of execution before the United States Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals had issued a mandate,” according to the high court’s ruling.
"La. Supreme Court throws out man's execution date," by AP, via the Alexandria Town Talk.
The Louisiana Supreme Court has thrown out a Nov. 5 execution date for a man convicted of fatally beating and scalding his 6-year-old stepson in 1992.
The state’s highest court ruled Wednesday that a state judge in Mansfield erred in setting the execution date when a federal appeals court still had jurisdiction over Christopher Sepulvado’s case.
A three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled last month that U.S. District Judge James Brady abused his discretion when he delayed a Feb. 13 execution date for Sepulvado. But the panel’s ruling hasn’t become final yet because Sepulvado’s lawyers had until Friday to challenge the decision.Gary Clements, one of Sepulvado’s attorneys, on Thursday filed separate requests for the panel to reconsider its ruling and for the full 5th Circuit to review the panel’s order.
Earlier coverage of Louisiana lethal injection issues and the Sepulvado case begins at the link.