The Georgia Supreme Court on Monday stayed the execution of condemned killer Warren Hill two hours before his scheduled execution. The high court unanimously granted the stay to determine whether a recent change to Georgia’s lethal injection protocol violates state law.
Separately the court declined to hear Hill’s appeal challenging the state’s standard to determine whether Hill is mentally retarded and thus ineligible for execution.
In Texas, a county judge on Tuesday refused to order a psychiatric evaluation for Marcus Druery to determine whether the inmate is competent to be put to death. All parties agreed that Druery is schizophrenic.
Druery hears voices and believes he is being poisoned with feces-spiked food. His speech is illogical, and although he has been on death row almost six years, he insists that he is serving only a 10-month sentence.
Texas plans to proceed with Druery’s execution even though he refuses to take his medication and does not acknowledge his mental illness.
In Oregon, Governor John Kitzhaber is morally opposed to the death penalty. He granted everyone on death row a reprieve, at least while he is governor. However, not everyone agrees with Kitzhaber, including a recipient of his repreive.
Gary Haugen waived his appeal and volunteered to be executed. His attorney is arguing that in past cases the Oregon Supreme Court has adopted an 1833 U.S. Supreme Court decision authored by Chief Justice John Marshall that suggests inmates must agree to a pardon for it to take effect.
Three states, three different approaches and three very different results. The news this week points to the absurdity of a 33 state approach to capital punishment.
(Image: Maxim Kazmin/Getty Images)
Matthew T. Mangino is the former district attorney of Lawrence County. He currently serves on the Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole. He is a featured columnist for the Pennsylvania Law Weekly and a regular contributor to the Youngstown Vindicator. You can read his musings on crime and punishment at www.mattmangino.com and follow Matt on Twitter @MatthewTMangino.