10-14-2014, 08:42 AM #1
OK - Stephanie Neiman, 19, killed, 2 injured in Perry home Invasion, 3 June 1999
Family of inmate in botched Oklahoma execution plans to sue governor, executioners (Daily Oklahoman)
• The family of Clayton Derrell Lockett, whose bungled execution in April pushed Oklahoma to the forefront of a national debate over the death penalty, plans to sue Gov. Mary Fallin and various members of the state’s execution team, claiming Lockett’s lethal injection violated his civil rights.
The complaint, shared Monday by attorneys, also calls his execution “a violation of innumerable standards of international law, and a violation of elementary concepts of human decency.”
“In a spectacle rarely seen in the ‘civilized’ world, Clayton Lockett writhed in agony, convulsed, gasped for breath, moaned repeatedly and took approximately 43 minutes to die at the hands of the Defendants,” attorneys for the estate wrote.
10-14-2014, 09:22 AM #2A federal lawsuit to be filed Tuesday by the family of Clayton Lockett identifies a McAlester physician as the doctor who carried out the execution, records show.
The lawsuit by relatives of Lockett names Johnny Zellmer, a McAlester emergency room physician, as the doctor who carried out Lockett’s botched April 29 execution.
Lawsuit names McAlester ER physician as execution doctor (Tulsa World)
"First, do no harm," eh.
10-14-2014, 11:06 AM #3
I strongly disagree with this whole lawsuit. I don't think the families of the condemned should be able to sue the governor and prison officials over the execution. What's next-- will they sue because there's no crash cart or fully outfitted trauma bay in the execution chamber?
I don't think things went as smoothly as they should have, but it has bothered me for a long time that this execution is persistently described as "botched". The condemned man was dead within 43 minutes-- that was the goal of the judicial execution. "Botched" would be the condemned man still alive and in a coma or vegetative state, at state expense, for years on end. IMO.
It was unfortunate that the IV infiltrated, and wasn't detected and handled as expeditiously as it could have been. Versed alone isn't probably the "best" drug to achieve the goal of execution, but it will definitely work, given a big enough dose IV.
Maybe we should put surgically placed central lines in all condemned inmates, to be sure the IV won't malfunction?
There are a LOT of drugs, and a LOT of "medical" methods to achieve an overdose and and an executed and dead inmate. If we have decided as a state and a country to administer judicial executions by lethal injection, we have to accept that sometimes the IV will infiltrate.
Let's not forget he brutally killed a 19 year old young woman. Should HER family get to counter sue the killer's family if they "win" a cash windfall of millions of dollars in their lawsuit? Shouldn't the VICTIM's family be compensated for her murder? SMH.
Here is what Clayton Lockett did to Stephanie Neiman, just 19 years old.
Last edited by K_Z; 10-14-2014 at 12:11 PM. Reason: better link
10-14-2014, 03:27 PM #4Lethal injection, not heart attack, killed Oklahoma inmate, autopsy shows
The autopsy, which was conducted by the Southwest Institute of Forensic Sciences at Dallas, found more than a dozen IV puncture marks on areas of Lockett’s foot, wrists, upper arms, chest and neck.
The autopsy also found lacerations on Lockett’s arms, which line up with reports from the state Corrections Department that Lockett cut himself with a razor moments before his execution. Correctional officers also shocked Lockett in the hours before his execution after he refused to cooperate. The autopsy found no stun-gun-type marks on his body.
Oklahoma used three drugs in Lockett’s execution: the sedative midazolam, vecuronium bromide and potassium chloride. Toxicology reports show all three drugs made it into his body.
CHART D: Three (3) Drug Protocol with Midazolam, Vecuronium Bromide and Potassium Chloride
250 mg midazolam, GREEN
250 mg midazolam, GREEN
60 ml heparin/saline, BLACK
50 mg vecuronium bromide, YELLOW
50 mg vecuronium bromide, YELLOW
60 ml heparin/saline, BLACK
120 mEq potassium chloride, RED
120 mEq potassium chloride, RED
60 ml heparin/saline, BLACK
And while the IV catheter was leaking or infiltrated, clearly most of the drugs ended up being infused intravenously-- because extravasated vec and potassium wouldn't "work" in the SQ tissues. Tox reports measure drugs in the central circulation. So things didn't go smoothly, but the drugs did make it into the central circulation, as intended, and did execute him.
I hope this lawsuit (due to be filed next Tuesday, per the article) is thrown out and never sees a courtroom or a jury. This is just the volley of publicity before the filing. Just sick and sad. The mother of the killer files a lawsuit for money from the state, and the parents of the real victim, Stephanie Nieman, lost their only daughter.
If Lockett's relatives get a single penny, I hope Stephanie's parents sue them. Or if Lockett's mother has any morality or decency, she'd give any money she gets from this lawsuit to Stephanie's parents herself. This whole thing makes me sick.
01-15-2015, 03:49 PM #5Registered User
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Interesting comment piece at the Guardian:
It would be interesting to have K_Z's input.
Last edited by Supernovae; 01-15-2015 at 06:23 PM.
01-16-2015, 02:53 AM #6
Warning- graphic content. (And double warning—this is gonna be a longish post. Sorry in advance!)
This op-ed referred to contains a number of ethical/ moral dilemmas/ debates—should we debate the death penalty itself, versus how it is conducted, and who is involved? In this post, I’m choosing to focus mostly on HOW it is conducted. (The other debate issues are equally lengthy.)
First of all, I will start out with a disclaimer that like roughly 65% of Americans, I do support the death penalty for the “worse of the worst” murderers. And having said that, I also support a variety of methods to achieve rapid, efficient, effective, inexpensive, and relatively painless execution for the condemned.
There are a number of highly effective methods to produce a quick, inexpensive, and relatively painless execution for the condemned. The cheapest and most reliable are less “acceptable” to most supporters, in this new era of “sterile, bloodless, painless judicial executions.” And here I’m referring to firing squad, gas chamber, and definitive and instantaneous methods such as guillotine beheading. Those are extremely fast, highly reliable, and rely less on commercial suppliers that may become unsupportive of judicial execution. But they are messy, and some believe these methods are “barbaric”, so we search for a politically and socially acceptable method that doesn’t offend the delicate sensibilities of some death penalty supporters. And because of THAT, we as a nation (ok, well, state by state) have decided that the “most acceptable” method of judicial execution is “massive and rapid anesthetic drug overdose”, similar to the medical induction of general anesthesia—but with a vastly different goals and outcomes. (And NOT administered by expert and skilled anesthetic providers, due to ethical concerns.)
Our current debate and controversy is focused on unavailability of the drugs (called euphemistically “chemicals” in most state execution protocols.) This unavailability is most often due to the desired drugs being rather old fashioned and not in demand for ordinary medical procedures (such as sodium pentothal), as well as drug unavailability due to politico/ ethical debates about the morality of judicial execution. One of the most potentially effective execution drugs, propofol, is essentially “off limits” for discussion, due to the chronic shortage of this very effective drug for ordinary medical and surgical procedures (which is also the “Michael Jackson death drug”).
Most medical providers balk at the idea of propofol having any place in judicial executions, because that would increase the shortage of this expensive, but effective and ubiquitous anesthetic drug even further. Propofol is a highly efficient cardiovascular depressant in large enough doses, as well as producing unconsciousness rapidly and reliably. But it’s expensive, and in limited supply for “real” patients, so we don’t want to “waste” it on judicial executions. Or make it any more “controversial” a drug than it already is, thanks to Michael Jackson and Dr. Conrad Murray.
So, let’s pretend for a minute that money is no barrier. The “original” lethal injection combination was pentothal, pavulon, and potassium chloride—cheap, and highly effective in appropriate doses. . That same combination in 2015 dollars is still ridiculously cheap—pennies, if all the drugs are available (which we know they aren’t). What happened over the years is that pentothal and pavulon were replaced in anesthetic usage with “better” new drugs. More expensive, newer drugs, for sure, but the older drugs (pavulon and pentothal) had fewer and fewer “real” medical applications.
So, over decades, manufacturers noticed that pretty much the only ones buying large quantities of these older drugs were corrections systems, and because of the ethical controversy over judicial execution, they decided to stop making them. And then the situation was compounded by judicial execution protocols being written into state laws, which guaranteed that the process to “change” the protocols to incorporate new drugs would be lengthy and cumbersome. And that’s where we are today.
Lots of drugs delivered in various routes and combinations (inhalation, IV, IM, etc) will “work” to produce a “humane” judicial execution/ overwhelming anesthetic drug overdose/ rapid unconsciousness with rapid cardiovascular collapse. But every state that has the death penalty is struggling to decide just the “very best” way to quickly and effectively (and painlessly, and reliably) effect unconsciousness, as well as rapid cardiovascular collapse, without “offending” the sensibilities of many supporters, who don’t want to see or hear about “blood”, or bullets, or beheadings, or lethal injection executions that produce gasping or writhing. While still choosing drugs that are easily available in large quantities.
Interestingly, the debate over “dumping” muscle relaxants (paralyzing drugs) from execution protocols is EXACTLY the same debate we have been having for years in anesthesia about doses and how often to re-paralyze patients undergoing lengthy procedures. At the beginning of my training and career, each and every general anesthesia patient was paralyzed “fully” from induction to the last hour or so of the case, and “reversal” drugs for paralyzing drugs was commonplace. This was to ensure that the patient “never” bucked or moved during the procedure—and because sometimes multiple anesthetic providers would rotate in and out of a case in a big hospital—and it was easier to keep the patient “fully” paralyzed. But as reports of “anesthetic awareness” began to pile up—patients who were paralyzed, but awake, as a profession, we began to more closely examine the necessity and safety of routinely re-paralyzing patients, and changed our practices as a profession.
So, should non-depolarizing muscle relaxants have a part in judicial executions? I don’t honestly know that the general public is ready for that level of discussion. As an anesthetic professional, I have no problem with the use of paralytics, given in the “proper overwhelming overdosage”, and via a reliable route, in combination with other drugs such as barbiturates and benzodiazepines, to be “humane”. The “back up” IM protocols I’ve looked at are very worrisome, and I wonder how much expert input has been given to those, because my first year anesthesia students could come up with “better” protocols than those that are mandated in some state laws.
Should docs and nurses be involved with placing access IV lines and monitoring the process? I’m okay with that. Quite frankly, a properly placed CENTRAL IV access line would be the ideal, but I doubt that is going to happen in any state anytime soon.
As I’ve said before, if we as a state/ nation are going to administer judicial execution by lethal injection , there will be a number of executions that are “sub optimal”. That is just part of the deal. Nothing is 100% all the time. But I believe it is of benefit to society, as well as the condemned, that we talk frankly about HOW we will be going about delivering judicial execution.
01-16-2015, 09:06 AM #7Registered User
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Whats your opinion on Nitrogen/CO chambers? Some people say that would be the most humane method of execution.
01-16-2015, 12:53 PM #8
I was a military flight nurse for many years, so I have more than a passing familiarity with issues related to partial pressure of oxygen, and time of useful consciousness in high altitude decompressions, in addition to my anesthesia background. (And my kids and their friends love to suck helium from balloons, so I regale them with stories of gas embolisms and hypoxic asphyxiation to scare them from doing helium too much! See what happens when your parents are science nerds?!)
So, what you’re referring to is “inert gas asphyxiation”. CO is carbon monoxide, and I don’t think it would ever be seriously considered as an execution method (it’s too slow). CO2, carbon dioxide, I think, would cause too much physiological distress to be seriously considered as an execution method for humans, but has been used for lab animals like rats.
However, nitrogen asphyxiation for judicial execution has been briefly discussed off and on since the mid 1990's. Oklahoma is currently in the infancy of discussions about looking into this method, after the prolonged Clayton Lockett execution.
Not content with just the upgrades to the prison and lethal injection equipment, though, Oklahoma's Republican-led House conducted a study on the use of nitrogen gas to execute inmates and is expected to consider legislation early next year that would make Oklahoma the first state to adopt hypoxia by gas — the forced deprivation of oxygen — as a legal execution method.
A few more references:
This one is the "think tank" proponent for nitrogen asphyxiation execution methods:
International Humanitarian Hypoxia Project: Introduction to Nitrogen Asphyxiation
http://videosift.com/video/How-to-Ki...painless-death (oops-- the video doesn't work on this link, but I'll leave it in case someone else can find another working version.)
While I think inert gas asphyxiation could be a very humane, painless, and rapid method of execution, I would forsee at least 10-20 years of very strident debate in the media and state legislatures before it could be seriously considered for implementation within a state department of corrections for judicial execution.
First, the description of the method includes the words “gas” and “asphyxiation”, two words that are LOADED with emotional and political meaning, and could even evoke comparisons to Nazi extermination camps by activists trying to abolish the death penalty. Contrast that with “lethal injection”, which most people compare to drifting off to anesthetic sleep for surgical procedures, or euthanizing a beloved pet. Surgery is something we do to living people for humane and curative purposes, so the subtle implication is that anesthesia must be painless and humane, or we wouldn’t commonly anesthetize regular, non-condemned people.
Mostly, I think people, even supporters, want to forget that we are actually killing someone with lethal injection. I think a lot of people don’t want to think about it too deeply or too long, and just consider that the condemned inmate is just “going to sleep” for a looooong time, like when we compassionately euthanize our beloved pets. (In the same way most people, IMO, don’t like to think of the meat in the Styrofoam tray at the grocery store as coming from a once- living animal—once it’s on Styrofoam, it’s just “dinner”.) Asphyxiation, on the other hand, is associated with terrible accidents, suicides, and murders, like the Nazi atrocities. So, for that reason alone, I think it would be an uphill battle to present this method of execution to the public as desirable and humane. I don't know if the average person would understand the difference between gas poisoning, versus inert gas asphyxiation, or would associate "asphyxiation" with "suffocation".
And then there’s the practical discussion of “how” to do it, whether by mask delivery, flooded room, flooded small box-like chamber, with or without pre- delivered sedation, etc. (It could take up to a minute or so for unconsciousness, which is actually a very long time, and could be distressing for observers. With general anesthesia and properly applied judicial lethal injection, unconsciousness usually takes only about 10 seconds.)
And on top of all that, then there would be numerous mechanical considerations, engineering designs, and OSHA and other safety issues for the corrections department and staff.
It could definitely work, but I think there are just too many political and practical issues to overcome to realistically implement this in the U.S. in the next 20 years. Perhaps if the meat packing industry embraces this on a larger scale for humane slaughter of large animals like cows and pigs, they will do a lot of the research on delivery methods and industrial safety, which could jump start a public discussion on the matter.
And who knows— the death penalty could be abolished again in the U.S., with the proper proportion of anti- death penalty leaning justices on the Supreme Court. So for now, if we’re going to do this thing called “lethal injection” for judicial execution, my opinion is that we should carefully study the issue and do it the best, fastest, and most humane way we can. I’d personally like to see a national “think tank” coalition be formed of experts to study the issues and make recommendations in support of various methods of judicial execution, just like the Death Penalty Information Center does for anti-DP issues. What troubles me personally is the wide discrepancy between how each of the participating states have developed their individual protocols and statutory language. There should be more uniformity, IMO. (And for the record, I currently live in a non-death penalty state, but I have lived in other states and countries where judicial execution was practiced.)
01-16-2015, 01:41 PM #9
I had one last thought I forgot to put in my above post. (Lol-- I always have "another" thought!)
I think the optimistic idea of "2 breaths to unconsciousness" is wildly overselling the realities of pulmonary physiology and potential nitrogen asphyxiation execution delivery devices. (That is, unless the condemned inmate has very significant, end stage lung disease, which isn't likely.)
I think the realities of circulation and loading/ unloading oxygen (oxyhemoglobin dissociation curve) at the hemoglobin level in the blood and tissues, combined with expiratory reserve volume, as well as functional residual capacity, and displaced dead space O2 reserves in most 30-60 year old execution candidates, in addition to the "ramp up" delivery device (whether flooding a room or chamber, or mask delivery), would make for at least 30-60 seconds, or more, from initiation to unconsciousness, then another 4-10 min for cardiac arrest. We also know that length of time is likely, when we look at what happened in fatal industrial accidents involving nitrogen asphyxiation.
Brief explanation of FRC, ERV, and oxyhemoglobin dissociation curve physiology.
01-16-2015, 02:28 PM #10Registered User
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When I read what the perps have done to their victims, I'm overcome with a murderous rage. Yes, I could be one in the firing squad or put the noose around their neck & pull the chair out from under them. We have gone over the top with "humane treatment" for these murderous beasts. Any form of humane treatment is too much of a consideration & leaves the public with a bad taste in their mouths.
01-16-2015, 02:29 PM #11Verified Attorney
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Very good information, K_Z. Thanks. I don't know if the asphyxiation concept will politically be acceptable in this country or not. I think the idea of sending prisoners to "the gas chambers" creates such an uneasiness in even supporters of capital punishment that I don't know if it will be supported. I agree with you that the simple mechanics and logistics of carrying out such executions would be very probematic and subject to delay and court challenge. And of course the idea of sedating a prisoner beforehand runs into the same problems faced today with lethal injection and what drug is effective to do that and is it available. Although, the "availability" problem appears to at least for the time being been solved by the use of compounding pharmacies. I do know that there are several state legislatures that are, or will be, discussing DP options, including re-authorizing firing squads. I would disagree with you about having a "national think tank" to come up with procedures and processes. I actually think that States developing their own protocols and methods is a better way to ensure executions are consistently carried out. The States carry out the overwhelming number of executions, and as such, should be deciding what best works for them.
01-16-2015, 04:55 PM #12Registered User
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01-16-2015, 05:32 PM #13
This world has gone flipping crazy!
It's not as if this person were an innocent victim. But for his actions, none of us would be here, typing or reading.
01-16-2015, 05:58 PM #14
01-17-2015, 02:40 AM #15
After reading this, the case of Jessica Chambers immediately comes to mind (the girl who was set on fire alive in Dec).
The person(s) responsible for this heinous act does not have a right to be treated humanely! IMO. Why should they be babied and feel no pain if lethal injection is given to them? IMO
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