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Cruel And Unusual Punishment

NATIONAL
July 2, 2008 | Carol J. Williams, Times Staff Writer
Convicted child rapist and murderer Mark Dean Schwab was put to death Tuesday at Florida State Prison, the state's first execution since a botched lethal injection 18 months ago raised concern that a condemned man had endured a "cruel and unusual" ordeal. Schwab, 39, was executed for the rape and murder of 11-year-old Junny Rios-Martinez of Cocoa. He killed the boy in April 1991, just a month after early release from a previous prison term for sexually assaulting a 13-year-old boy.
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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.
OPINION
January 23, 2008
Re "Too harsh," editorial, Jan. 16 Your editorial rightfully characterized sentencing youths to life without parole as cruel and unusual punishment. It did not answer the question of how many of them end up in prolonged solitary confinement in a "supermax" prison. The larger question of conscience is the use of such prisons for any but the most dangerous prisoners guilty of the most heinous crimes. Such confinement must be judged cruel and unusual punishment, and allowing it to continue will someday be viewed as the national shame it is. We have lost our own humanity when we allow fear and vengeance to bring us to treat our fellow humans without humanity.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
September 24, 2007 | Matt Lait, Times Staff Writer
In a significant legal victory for thousands of former Los Angeles County jail inmates, a federal court judge has ruled that jail officials violated the prisoners' constitutional rights when they had them sleep on concrete floors because of chronic overcrowding. U.S District Judge Dean D. Pregerson said jail officials were guilty of "deliberate indifference" when they failed to provide inmates with bunks.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
July 4, 2007 | Henry Weinstein, Times Staff Writer
Attorneys for condemned inmate Michael Morales told a judge overseeing a legal challenge to California executions that the state's new lethal injection procedures are "even more ill-conceived and deficient than the older versions." The comments came in an amended complaint filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in San Jose in response to proposed revisions to the state's procedures for executing death row inmates.
NATIONAL
June 5, 2007 | Henry Weinstein, Times Staff Writer
In the first review by a federal appeals court of a full-scale challenge to a state's lethal-injection law, a court in St. Louis on Monday found Missouri's procedure constitutional, paving the way for the resumption of executions in the state. The ruling becomes the guiding legal principle within the U.S. 8th Circuit Court of Appeals, which includes two other states using lethal injection -- Arkansas and South Dakota.
NATIONAL
May 5, 2007 | Henry Weinstein, Times Staff Writer
A federal judge in Nashville on Friday blocked the execution of a man who has been on Tennessee's death row for more than 20 years, based on a challenge to the state's new lethal injection procedure. Attorneys for Philip Ray Workman demonstrated a likelihood of success on their claim that the protocol exposes their client "to a foreseeable and likely unnecessary risk of unconstitutional pain and suffering in violation of the Eight Amendment," U.S. District Judge Todd J. Campbell wrote.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 19, 2006 | Henry Weinstein, Times Staff Writer
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Monday ordered his administration to fix problems in California's lethal injection protocol "to ensure the death penalty procedure is constitutional." Schwarzenegger acted in response to a stinging decision issued Friday by U.S. District Judge Jeremy Fogel in San Jose, who said the state's system "is broken, but ... can be fixed."
NATIONAL
December 16, 2006 | Carol J. Williams, Times Staff Writer
Florida Gov. Jeb Bush on Friday suspended executions until at least March while investigators examine why it took more than half an hour for a lethal injection to kill a convicted murderer. Angel Nieves Diaz, 55, appeared to grimace in pain and struggle for breath during the Wednesday night execution until a second dose of the fatal drugs was administered, according to witnesses. The execution at Florida State Prison in Starke took 34 minutes, three times longer than usual.
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