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Lethal Injection

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By Mike Giuliano | July 27, 2012
When a play bears the title "Lethal Injection," it gets your attention. Michael Reimann's courtroom drama holds your interest, too, even though this Baltimore Playwrights Festival entry at Vagabond Players does not exactly have a light touch with its heavy themes. The play's title and its murder trial setting in a small-town courtroom in Texas might prompt you to think that it will be about the ethical merits of capital punishment. After all, this trial takes place in a state that's known for the frequency with which the death penalty is imposed and carried out. Although the lawyers and various other characters in Reimann's fully populated drama occasionally make direct reference to capital punishment, it's a bit of a surprise that the plot is instead driven by different thematic concerns.
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Dan Rodricks | January 5, 2013
That was no small development heard the other day from the longtime president of the Maryland Senate, Thomas V. Mike Miller. The white-haired gatekeeper of the General Assembly said he would allow a vote to repeal the death penalty on the Senate floor, presumably bypassing the committee that usually blocks the legislation from getting there. This from the politician who once declared: "If there's a gallows, I'll pull the lever. If there's a gas chamber, I'll turn the valve. If it's lethal injection, I'll insert the needle.
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Dan Rodricks | March 21, 2012
John D. Bessler, an expert on capital punishment who teaches at the University of Baltimore School of Law, argues in his most recent book on the death penalty (he's written four) that, since its founding, the United States has become a more civilized place. We outlawed duels a long time ago. We no longer whip or torture inmates. We no longer place offenders in stocks. We stopped public hangings. As Mr. Bessler points out in his excellent history, "Cruel and Unusual: The American Death Penalty and the Founders' Eighth Amendment," we've made all kinds of progress since the time of Thomas Jefferson, John Adams and the adoption of the Bill of Rights.
EXPLORE
By Mike Giuliano | July 27, 2012
When a play bears the title "Lethal Injection," it gets your attention. Michael Reimann's courtroom drama holds your interest, too, even though this Baltimore Playwrights Festival entry at Vagabond Players does not exactly have a light touch with its heavy themes. The play's title and its murder trial setting in a small-town courtroom in Texas might prompt you to think that it will be about the ethical merits of capital punishment. After all, this trial takes place in a state that's known for the frequency with which the death penalty is imposed and carried out. Although the lawyers and various other characters in Reimann's fully populated drama occasionally make direct reference to capital punishment, it's a bit of a surprise that the plot is instead driven by different thematic concerns.
NEWS
By NEW YORK TIMES NEWS SERVICE | April 12, 2006
Judges in several states have started to put up potentially insurmountable roadblocks to the use of injections to execute condemned inmates. Their decisions are based on new evidence suggesting that prisoners have gone through agonizing executions. In response, judges are insisting that doctors take an active role in supervising executions, even though the American Medical Association's code of ethics prohibits that. A federal judge in North Carolina has ordered state officials to find medical personnel by tomorrow to supervise an execution scheduled for next week.
NEWS
By Frank Langfitt and Frank Langfitt,Sun Staff Writer Sun staff writer Glenn Small contributed to this article | March 19, 1994
John Frederick Thanos, who could be executed as early as next month, is almost certain to have a choice as to how he will die.The Maryland Senate gave final legislative approval yesterday to a bill switching the state's method of execution from the gas chamber to lethal injection. The governor, who sponsored the measure, is expected to sign it into law as soon as next week.Under the bill, Thanos and the other dozen or so inmates on Maryland's death row could choose between the two methods.
TOPIC
May 6, 2001
TIMOTHY J. McVEIGH is sentenced to die by lethal injection at 7 a.m. May 16 in Terre Haute, Ind., for the role he played in the Oklahoma City federal building bombing. Edward Brunner, M.D., Ph.D., is the Eckenhoff professor and chairman emeritus of anesthesia at Northwestern University Medical School and at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. A death penalty opponent, he was a practicing anesthesiologist for four decades. The following is an edited interview done by Charles M. Madigan of the Chicago Tribune: Q Is lethal injection a painless way to die?
NEWS
By Julie Bykowicz and Julie Bykowicz,SUN STAFF | June 3, 2004
Two of convicted killer Steven Oken's legal efforts to halt his execution were rejected yesterday by a Baltimore County Circuit Court judge. Judge John G. Turnbull II, who in April signed a warrant setting Oken's execution for later this month, sided with lawyers from the state in Oken's lawsuit questioning the constitutionality of lethal injection as a method of execution. The judge also denied Oken's request for an emergency hearing on a motion he had filed that claimed the Division of Correction does not administer lethal injections in the manner outlined by Maryland law. Fred Warren Bennett, Oken's lawyer, said news of the judge's rulings did not surprise him. He said he will focus on the state's highest court in his effort to stop Oken's execution.
NEWS
By Lyle Denniston and Lyle Denniston,Washington Bureau of The Sun | October 4, 1994
WASHINGTON -- Maryland's new method of executing murderers with a lethal injection of drugs withstood a constitutional challenge in the Supreme Court yesterday.Without comment, the court turned down the appeal of Tyrone Delano Gilliam Jr., who is awaiting execution for the 1988 murder of a woman outside her townhouse development in Baltimore County.His case was rejected by the justices on the opening day of their new term, as was a new appeal by Vernon Lee Evans Jr., who has been sentenced to die for the murder-for-hire killing in Pikesville in 1983 of two witnesses in a federal drug case.
NEWS
By GAIL GIBSON and GAIL GIBSON,SUN REPORTER | July 8, 2006
As an Oklahoma legislator in the 1970s, Bill J. Wiseman followed the will of his district and voted to restore the state's death penalty. But with deep personal reservations about capital punishment, he also sought out a more humane alternative to electrocution and became the unwitting architect of the injection protocol now used in nearly every U.S. execution. Now, as then, Wiseman's concerns about the process run deep. He never anticipated that lethal injection could be botched by problems of inadequate sedation or the use of a chemical to paralyze an inmate's muscles, as a widely publicized medical study reported last year.
NEWS
March 24, 2012
In today's Sun the column by Dan Rodricks was right on the mark regarding Maryland's outdated adherence to state executions ("Floggings, no - lethal injection, yes?" March 22). He quotes a book by University of Baltimore law professor John D. Bessler indicating that some of our Founding Fathers, such as George Washington, Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson, opposed executions. They were apparently more humane 200 years ago than we are now. How we have progressed since then, still intent on killing people!
NEWS
Dan Rodricks | March 21, 2012
John D. Bessler, an expert on capital punishment who teaches at the University of Baltimore School of Law, argues in his most recent book on the death penalty (he's written four) that, since its founding, the United States has become a more civilized place. We outlawed duels a long time ago. We no longer whip or torture inmates. We no longer place offenders in stocks. We stopped public hangings. As Mr. Bessler points out in his excellent history, "Cruel and Unusual: The American Death Penalty and the Founders' Eighth Amendment," we've made all kinds of progress since the time of Thomas Jefferson, John Adams and the adoption of the Bill of Rights.
FEATURES
By Jill Rosen and The Baltimore Sun | January 5, 2012
When they were handing out the whole "nine lives" package, one Salt Lake City cat apparently got seconds. Maybe thirds. According to a jaw-dropping tale in the Salt Lake Tribune , a stray cat named Andrea has one Utah city rethinking its euthanasia policy after the cat survived not one, but two rounds in a gas chamber. Last year the black cat was put on death row after no one adopted her at the shelter. According to the story, Andrea was "plopped" into the gas chamber to be euthanized but when she showed signs of life after the process, they gassed her again.
NEWS
January 30, 2011
An unexpected confluence of events this year has given Gov. Martin O'Malley a chance to advance a much-needed reform that he has long championed. Because of changes in the composition of the state Senate after last year's elections, the General Assembly may be more receptive than it has been in years past to ending executions in Maryland, not just limiting their application. Moreover, the only American manufacturer of a key chemical used in lethal injections announced last week that it would no longer produce the drug, a move that will likely put a de facto halt to executions across the U.S., at least temporarily.
NEWS
By Maria Glod, The Washington Post | September 24, 2010
Teresa Lewis, who plotted with a young lover to kill her husband and stepson for insurance money, became the first woman executed in Virginia in nearly 100 years Thursday night when she was killed by lethal injection. Lewis, 41, was a mother who became a grandmother behind bars. Just before she was executed, Lewis asked whether her husband's daughter was in the death chamber. "I want you to know I love you, and I'm sorry for what I did," she said just before her death. She was pronounced dead at 9:13 p.m. Lewis's case generated passion and interest across the world.
NEWS
October 13, 2009
The fundamental question to be asked about the "serious flaws" that a legislative panel reviewing Maryland's death penalty protocols has found in how the state executes condemned inmates is this: Are there substantive ethical and legal problems with the procedure that require further study before executions can proceed, as panel members insist? Or is the finding merely an excuse to extend the de facto moratorium on executions that has existed since 2006, as death penalty supporters argue?
NEWS
By Glenn Small and Glenn Small,Sun Staff Writer | May 6, 1994
As the day of John F. Thanos' death draws nearer, Maryland corrections officials say they're ready to carry out Maryland's first execution in nearly 33 years -- and the state's first by lethal injection."
NEWS
By JENNIFER MCMENAMIN and JENNIFER MCMENAMIN,SUN REPORTER | January 28, 2006
Years of past heroin abuse have so damaged the veins of death row inmate Vernon Lee Evans Jr. that executing him might require a surgical procedure that, if done improperly, could cause him to bleed to death or suffocate before the flow of lethal chemicals stops his heart, two doctors testified yesterday. Dr. Thomas Scalea, a surgeon and physician in chief of Maryland Shock Trauma Center, said that none of Evans' peripheral veins, such as those in his arms, wrists or ankles, can support the flow of the three chemicals that Maryland uses in its lethal injection procedure.
NEWS
June 30, 2009
Delay execution regulations While we failed this year to repeal Maryland's violation of the Constitution's prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment, we will be back. The Baltimore Sun's admirable stance over the years against the death penalty has always been appreciated. Yet I am baffled by the editorial "A dishonest delay" (June 26). The writer seems confused: "legislators shouldn't drag out approvals of execution regulations to maintain a moratorium; the governor should commute death sentences instead."
NEWS
May 27, 2008
Gov. Martin O'Malley has reluctantly set in motion the process to resume state executions. He didn't really have much of a choice after the U.S. Supreme Court last month upheld the constitutionality of lethal injection. That's when Mr. O'Malley lost his main reason for delaying a redrafting of the execution protocols that had been invalidated by the Maryland Court of Appeals more than a year ago. Last week, he ordered state public safety officials to begin the rewrite. Capital punishment has lost support among Marylanders, but it remains the law, unfortunately, and governors often are called upon to enforce laws that they morally oppose.
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