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Cruel And Unusual Punishment

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NEWS
February 26, 1993 | HENRY WEINSTEIN, TIMES STAFF WRITER
In a precedent-setting decision, a federal appeals court in San Francisco ruled Thursday that random body searches of clothed women prisoners--including of their breast and genital areas--by male guards at a Washington prison violated the Constitution's prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment. The U.S.
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NATIONAL
January 17, 2014 | By Michael Muskal
The children of convicted murderer Dennis McGuire, whose execution by lethal injection took longer and seemed to be more painful than expected, plans to sue Ohio to block further use of the protocol. The decision to sue was announced Friday at a news conference, said attorney Jon Paul Rion, who represents the children who witnessed Thursday's execution at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Lucasville. The suit is expected to be filed next week in federal court, Rion said in an interview with the Los Angeles Times.
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NEWS
May 10, 1992 | PHILIP HAGER, TIMES LEGAL AFFAIRS WRITER
Locked securely in a federal court safe here is the nation's first authorized filming of an execution: a court-ordered videotape of the death of Robert Alton Harris that news organizations plan to seek for broadcast on television. Although a local TV station failed to win approval to film the execution, attorneys say that with the tape officially made for evidence in another case, the way should be clear for its release to the public.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
August 17, 2012 | By Victoria Kim, Los Angeles Times
Sentencing a juvenile offender to 110 years to life in prison for attempted murder is cruel and unusual punishment, the California Supreme Court ruled Thursday, striking down a sentence in a Los Angeles County case. The state high court's decision comes as courts across the nation are grappling with the ramifications of a 2010 U.S. Supreme Courtdecision that found it unconstitutional to sentence a juvenile convicted of a crime other than murder to life in prison without parole. In that case, Graham vs. Florida, the court ruled that young offenders should be given "some realistic opportunity" for release, citing "fundamental differences between juvenile and adult minds.
NATIONAL
February 9, 2008 | From Times Wire Reports
The Nebraska Supreme Court ruled that electrocution is cruel and unusual punishment, outlawing the electric chair in the only state using it as its sole means of execution. The state's death penalty remains legal, but another method must be approved. The evidence shows that electrocution inflicts "intense pain and agonizing suffering," the court said. "Condemned prisoners must not be tortured to death, regardless of their crimes," Justice William M. Connolly wrote in the 6-1 opinion.
NEWS
July 10, 1991 | From Times Staff and Wire Reports
The Colorado Supreme Court found that state's capital punishment statute to be unconstitutional. The law constitutes cruel and unusual punishment because it "mandates imposition of the death penalty when the jury decides that aggravating and mitigating factors (for and against the defendant) are equally balanced," the court said in Denver. The 4-3 decision stemmed from appeals in a Denver murder case.
NEWS
August 3, 1999 | From Times Wire Reports
A judge in Orlando, Fla., ruled that the state's electric chair is not cruel and unusual punishment and that it functioned properly in a July 8 execution. Judge Clarence Johnson said Allen Lee Davis "did not suffer any conscious pain" when he was executed for three 1982 murders. Davis bled from his nose as he died, and lawyers for the next man scheduled for death then challenged the use of the electric chair.
NATIONAL
October 18, 2005 | From Times Wire Reports
The Tennessee Supreme Court unanimously rejected claims that the three-drug combination used to execute killers can cause extreme pain in violation of the U.S. Constitution's ban on cruel and unusual punishment. Lawyers for Abu-Ali Abdur'Rahman, who was sentenced to die by lethal injection in the 1986 beating death of a Nashville drug dealer, had sought to change the state's method of execution. Abdur'Rahman's lawyer Bradley MacLean said he would appeal. The U.S.
NEWS
July 19, 1997 | From Times Staff and Wire Reports
A judge in Jacksonville rejected a constitutional challenge to Florida's malfunctioning electric chair, ruling it did not constitute cruel and unusual punishment. Florida Circuit Judge A.C. Soud concluded that Pedro Medina, whose fiery execution in March spurred inquiry into the condition of the 74-year-old chair, died instantly and did not suffer conscious pain. Flames leaped from the headpiece of the execution apparatus during Medina's execution and an acrid smoke filled the death chamber.
NATIONAL
January 17, 2014 | By Michael Muskal
The children of convicted murderer Dennis McGuire, whose execution by lethal injection took longer and seemed to be more painful than expected, plans to sue Ohio to block further use of the protocol. The decision to sue was announced Friday at a news conference, said attorney Jon Paul Rion, who represents the children who witnessed Thursday's execution at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Lucasville. The suit is expected to be filed next week in federal court, Rion said in an interview with the Los Angeles Times.
ENTERTAINMENT
June 1, 2012 | By Robert Abele
Set in an East Texas work prison in 1976, the turgid indie "Cellmates" pairs an incarcerated Klan bigwig (Tom Sizemore) with a happy-go-lucky Mexican fieldworker (Hector Jimenez). The bigot endures the lectures of a potato-farming-obsessed warden (Stacy Keach, full throttle) and falls for a pretty Latina maid (Olga Segura). Really, you can't blame Sizemore for turning the simplest physical movement or line of dialogue into a hoedown of over-gesturing. Co-writer/director Jesse Baget's incessantly talky mix of faux-Coens-style redneck grandiloquence and un-Coens-like visual flatness leaves the fidgety star trapped in garish close-up for most of the film.
OPINION
March 23, 2012
Seven years ago, the Supreme Court ruled that offenders younger than 18 couldn't be sentenced to death, arguing that juveniles are generally less culpable than adults because they are less mature, more impulsive and more susceptible to peer pressure. By the same unassailable logic, the court should hold that sentencing young murderers to life without parole is cruel and unusual punishment. Evan Miller and Kuntrell Jackson were both 14 when they committed their crimes. Miller and a 16-year-old friend beat a neighbor and set fire to his house in Alabama, leading to the neighbor's death by smoke inhalation.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 10, 2012 | By Chris Megerian, Los Angeles Times
Reporting from San Quentin -- Fifteen years ago, Jackie Clark was so disgusted with the healthcare at San Quentin prison that she quit her job there as a nurse consultant. "We didn't have sinks. We didn't have appropriate medical equipment," she recalled recently. "We were in converted offices and converted cells. " The care there and elsewhere in California's overcrowded lockups was so poor that in 2006 a federal judge, saying that an inmate was dying unnecessarily every week, put a receiver in charge of the health system.
NATIONAL
November 8, 2011 | By David G. Savage, Washington Bureau
The Supreme Court on Monday agreed to consider putting a new national limit on life sentences for juveniles who are age 14 or younger. Nationwide, there are 73 prisoners who are serving life terms with no possible parole for their role in homicides committed when they were 14 or younger. The justices voted to hear appeals from two of those inmates — one from Alabama and one from Arkansas — to decide whether such a sentence for a very young criminal violates the Constitution's ban on cruel and unusual punishment.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 30, 2010 | By Carol J. Williams, Los Angeles Times
California moved a step closer to resuming executions Thursday when corrections officials announced new lethal injection procedures, beating a May 1 deadline by one day. The proposed changes in the death chamber procedures, though mostly minor, are intended to address concerns expressed by a federal judge in 2006 that the state's earlier three-drug sequence may have exposed some of those who were executed to unconstitutionally "cruel and unusual...
NATIONAL
November 14, 2009 | Carol J. Williams
Ohio became the first state in the nation Friday to adopt a single-injection method for executing condemned inmates, a process that state officials believe will avoid violating the constitutional ban on cruel and unusual punishment. The single large dose of anesthetic is similar to the method used by veterinarians to euthanize pets and livestock. Other states with capital punishment now use a three-drug formula that is believed to inflict pain if not properly administered. Richard Dieter, executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center, said that Ohio's new method was "a better alternative."
NEWS
December 30, 1992 | From Reuters
A civil liberties group Tuesday filed suit to try to block the first execution by hanging in the United States in nearly 30 years, saying the method was a cruel and unusual punishment barred by the U.S. Constitution. A half-dozen of the plaintiffs told a news conference in Seattle they were not seeking to block the execution of Dodd by other means, although many of the plaintiffs, including all of those present, oppose the death penalty.
OPINION
October 14, 2009
Over the course of two hours, nurses attempted 18 times last month to find a vein in Romell Broom in which to inject the convicted murderer with a lethal combination of drugs. Broom even tried to help them, massaging his arms and straightening tubes. Finally, Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland called off the execution -- for the day, at least. A rare occurrence? Ohio, 2006: The execution of Joseph Lewis Clark took close to 90 minutes after executioners had trouble finding a vein. "It don't work, it don't work," Clark told them.
NATIONAL
September 28, 2009 | David G. Savage
Joe Sullivan was 13 years old when he and two older boys broke into a home, where they robbed and raped an elderly woman. After a one-day trial in 1989, Sullivan was sentenced to life in prison with no chance for parole. Terrance Graham was 16 when he and two others robbed a restaurant. When he was arrested again a year later for a home break-in, a Florida judge said he was incorrigible. In 2005, Graham received a life term with no parole. The two young convicts represent an American phenomenon, one the Supreme Court is set to reconsider in the fall term that opens Oct. 5. At issue is whether it is cruel and unusual punishment to imprison a minor until he or she dies when the crime does not involve murder.
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