death penalty

Judge Hears Arguments Over Missouri Execution Secrecy

Jun 4, 2014
A group of activists say Andre Cole didn't receive a fair trial nor a proper defense. They're asking Gov. Nixon to halt Cole's execution Tuesday.
(via Wikimedia Commons/Noahudlis)

In a court hearing Wednesday, the Missouri attorney general's office defended the secrecy that just last week Attorney General Chris Koster expressed concerns over.

Inmate John Winfield is scheduled to be executed on June 18 for murdering two people in St. Louis County in 1996. His lawyer, Joe Luby, argued in the Cole County 19th Judicial Circuit Court that the Missouri Department of Corrections is violating the sunshine law by keeping secret the identity of the supplier of the execution drug.

(Joseph Leahy/St. Louis Public Radio)

Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster says that his speech last Thursday to fellow lawyers, where he laid out the challenges facing Missouri and other states with the death penalty, had everything to do with policy, not politics.

“The purpose of the speech was to continue a serious public policy discussion regarding one aspect of perhaps the most profound act conducted by state government,”  Koster wrote in a statement Friday to St. Louis Public Radio.

Véronique LaCapra, St. Louis Public Radio

In a speech Thursday, Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster expressed concern over the execution secrecy that his office has previously fought hard to defend. The Democrat is calling on the state to create a state-run laboratory to produce the lethal injection drugs itself.

Koster says the expanding secrecy surrounding Missouri’s lethal injection methods should "concern all of us deeply.”

The announcement comes at a time when there are few willing suppliers, which Koster admitted in his speech.

James Cridland via Flickr

Wednesday marked the fourth day of the Lyft hearing in downtown St. Louis. The Metropolitan Taxicab Commission (MTC) sees the ride-sharing app as a taxi service, and wants Lyft to comply with existing regulations. But Lyft says it is a “friend with a car,” not a taxi. Who has the stronger legal argument?

U.S. Supreme Court Orders Missouri Halt Execution

May 20, 2014
California Department of Corrections

Updated 5/21/14 6:35 pm

Missouri had hoped to carry out the nation's first execution since Oklahoma botched one, but the U.S. Supreme Court has ordered the state to halt its plans.

The U.S. Supreme Court was asked to step in after the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals removed a stay that it originally put in place.

Russell Bucklew had been scheduled to be executed at 12:01 a.m. on Wednesday. It would have been the state's seventh execution in as many months — equaling the number of executions the state has carried out in the preceding nine years.

Uncredited AP

Oklahoma, a state with numerous ties to the controversy over Missouri's lethal injection procedures, on Tuesday night botched what the state had hoped would be the first of two successful executions.

According to reports of witnesses, Clayton Lockett writhed in pain on the gurney after he awoke following a doctor's declaration that he was unconscious. He died of an apparent heart attack at 7:06 p.m., more than 40 minutes after the first drug was injected at 6:23 p.m.

Robert Patton, director of the Oklahoma Department of Corrections, said Lockett's vein had collapsed.

Missouri Executes Sixth Inmate In Six Months

Apr 22, 2014
California Department of Corrections

William Rousan, 57, was put to death this morning for killing a couple, Grace and Charles Lewis, at a southeast Missouri farm in 1993.

It was the state's sixth execution in six months -- a dramatic uptick from years past. According to our examination, Missouri will set a record next month when it carries out seven straight months of executions.

Video: The Death Penalty In Missouri From All Sides

Mar 28, 2014

The use of the death penalty is on the rise in Missouri. I looked at the numbers recently, and the state has carried out more executions in the past five months than it has in the preceding eight years.

The Nine Network's Stay Tuned devoted a full hour to the topic: the death penalty's implementation, struggles, and of course, the secrecy surrounding its use.

The show delved into the issue from all sides:

(via Wikimedia Commons/California Department of Corrections)

With the recent run of executions in Missouri, it seemed apropos to review some of the arguments for and against the controversial subject of capital punishment. In two separate interviews, St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh did just that.

Missouri Executes Inmate, Third This Year

Mar 26, 2014

At 12:01 Wednesday morning, Missouri executed inmate Jeffrey Ferguson, marking the state's fifth execution in as many months.

Ferguson was put to death for the brutal murder and rape of a 17-year-old St. Charles County girl. The crime occurred in 1989, and the victim’s father, Jim Hall, said the punishment was long overdue.

“It’s been 25 years of pins and needles," Hall said. "Every time the appeal went up, you waited to find out what happened. That’s exactly where we’ve been. But last month, he had an [execution] date and felt some of the fear that my daughter felt.”

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