September 28, 2009 |
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.
September 19, 2009 |
As executioners poked his limbs with an IV needle, Romell Broom initially tried to speed along his own demise, flexing his arm and tugging on a rubber tourniquet to better expose a vein on the inside of his elbow. But as prison workers repeatedly failed to find a vein strong enough to take the lethal injections, the convicted rapist-murderer began to despair over his protracted end. Witnesses and the execution-team log from Tuesday describe how the 53-year-old winced and cried as a shunt inserted in his leg also failed to open a pathway for the fatal drugs.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
July 1, 2009 |
Corrections officials heard overwhelming condemnation of proposed new lethal injection procedures Tuesday at the first-ever public hearing on execution methods in the state. Contrary to the solid majority of Californians who in opinion polls expressed support for the death penalty, only two out of more than 100 speakers supported a resumption of death sentences once legal hurdles are cleared.
July 2, 2008 |
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.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 13, 2008 |
In a stinging ruling, a Los Angeles federal judge said immigration officials' alleged decision to withhold a critical medical test and other treatment from a detainee who later died of cancer was "beyond cruel and unusual" punishment. The decision from U.S. District Judge Dean Pregerson allows the family of Francisco Castaneda to seek financial damages from the government. Castaneda, who suffered from penile cancer, died Feb. 16.
February 9, 2008 |
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.
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 |
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.
September 22, 2007 |
nashville -- A federal judge's ruling Wednesday that Tennessee's lethal injection procedure could cause excruciating pain is another blow to the three-drug cocktail used by every state that executes by lethal injection. Federal judges reached similar conclusions in Missouri and California last year, and now states have to decide whether to defend the three-drug method or find a new way to put inmates to death by injection.