Day: April 25, 2012

VIRGINIA – lawyers: Executions are illegal practice of medicine


april 24, sourcehttp://thedailyrecord.com

Virginia executioners who inject condemned inmates with lethal doses of drugs are illegally practicing medicine, pharmacy and anesthesiology without licenses, two Alexandria lawyers claim in a complaint filed Tuesday.

Attorneys Meghan Shapiro and Christopher Leibig asked the Richmond Circuit Court for an injunction halting the allegedly unauthorized practices.

The complaint says corrections officers are not checking to ensure that prisoners are properly anesthetized and unconscious before administering two lethal drugs: one that causes asphyxiation and another that stops the heart “with excruciating pain that has been likened to the feeling of having one’s veins set on fire.”

Virginia Department of Corrections spokesman Larry Traylor said prison officials had not seen the complaint and would not comment on pending litigation.

“I’m just trying to hold the Department of Corrections accountable,” Shapiro said in a telephone interview. “I don’t believe they should be able to operate outside the law.”

The complaint names the department’s director, its pharmacy supervisor and unnamed execution team leaders as defendants. By law, the executioners’ names are secret. But Shapiro said depositions of unnamed witnesses and other discovery materials in federal lawsuits show that the drugs, available only by prescription, are not being administered by licensed medical professionals.

Richard Dieter, executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center, which opposes capital punishment, said lethal injection has been challenged around the country on various grounds. California and Maryland have put executions on hold because of lethal injection issues.

However, Dieter said he is aware of no other challenge that has claimed executioners are violating medical licensing laws and regulations.

“In almost all cases, there are lethal injection challenges accompanying appeals as these executions get close,” Dieter said.

No executions are scheduled at this time in Virginia, which has executed more people than any state except Texas since the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1976. Dieter said the federal government and all 34 death penalty states use lethal injection, although some have other methods available as backup. In Virginia, condemned inmates are allowed to choose between injection and electrocution. If they decline to choose, they get the injection.

The administration of those intravenous drugs by unlicensed personnel has been problematic, according to the complaint filed by Shapiro and Leibig.

“They have no idea what they’re doing,” Shapiro said in a written statement.

The lawyers claim that along with failing to determine whether a prisoner is unconscious before administering the lethal drugs, Virginia’s executioners have administered recalled drugs, misused a drug for general anesthesia and made mistakes in paperwork documenting the handling and administration of chemicals.

Execution teams also have spent substantial time during training sessions planning barbecues, picnics and other events, the filing says.

Stephen A. Northup, executive director of Virginians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty, said Virginians “should be concerned, if not shocked” by the allegations.

No hearing date has been set.

ARIZONA – Samuel Villegas Lopez – execution – May 16 RESCHEDULED


 Inmate 043833, Samuel V. Lopez

On October 29, 1986, Lopez broke into the apartment of 59-year-old Estafana Holmes. Lopez raped, beat, and stabbed Ms. Holmes. Her body was found nude from the waist down, with her pajama bottoms tied around her eyes. A lace scarf was crammed tightly into her mouth. She had been stabbed 23 times in the left breast and upper chest, three times in her lower abdomen, and her throat was cut. Lopez’ body fluids matched seminal fluids found in Ms. Holmes’ body.

PROCEEDINGS

Presiding Judge: Hon. Peter T. D’Angelo
Prosecutor:Paul Ahler
Defense Counsel: Joel Brown
Start of Trial: April 16, 1987
Verdict: April 27, 1987
Sentencing: June 25, 1987
Resentencing: August 3, 1990

Aggravating Circumstances
Especially heinous, cruel or depraved

PUBLISHED OPINIONS
State v. Lopez (Samuel V.), 163 Ariz. 108, 786 P.2d 959 (1990).
State v. Lopez (Samuel V.), 175 Ariz. 407, 857 P.2d 1261 (1993).

affidavit of Samuel villegas Lopez (us.court) pdf file

petition for post conviction relief (us court) pdf file

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May 23, Source : http://www.kpho.com

The Arizona Supreme Court has denied a petition to review the case of a death row inmate set for execution next week.

Lawyers for Samuel Villegas Lopez had asked the state’s high court to review a lower court’s order dismissing his petition for post-conviction relief on March 30.

The state Supreme Court issued its ruling Wednesday without comment. There’s no immediate response from Lopez’s attorneys.

The 49-year-old Lopez is scheduled to be executed by lethal injection May 16 at the state prison in Florence in what would be the fourth execution in Arizona this year.

Lopez was convicted of raping, robbing and stabbing a 59-year-old woman to death in her Phoenix apartment on Oct. 29, 1986, after what court records described as a “terrible and prolonged struggle.”

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PHOENIX (Reuters) – Arizona’s top court issued a stay of execution on Tuesday for death row inmate Samuel Villegas Lopez, a day before he was scheduled to die by lethal injection, to address claims that he had been denied a chance at a fair clemency hearing.

Villegas Lopez was sentenced to death for raping 59-year-old Estafana Holmes and stabbing her to death in a violent, drawn-out assault at her Phoenix apartment in 1986

The Arizona Supreme Court rescheduled his execution for June 27 so that attorneys could address claims that he was denied a fair clemency hearing because some members of the state clemency board had not received a mandated four-week training course.

“We conclude that the interests of justice are best served by staying the pending execution and forthwith issuing … a new warrant of execution, for June 27,” the court said in its ruling.

“The period between now and the new execution date will allow training of new board members and a clemency hearing to be subsequently held by the board,” it added.

He had been due to die by lethal injection at 10 a.m. on Wednesday morning, at the state prison in Florence, some 60 miles southeast of Phoenix.

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Update may 9, 2012 source : http://azcapitoltimes.com

The Arizona Supreme Court has denied a petition to review the case of a death row inmate set for execution next week.

Lawyers for Samuel Villegas Lopez had asked the state’s high court to review a lower court’s order dismissing his petition for post-conviction relief on March 30.

The state Supreme Court issued its ruling Wednesday without comment. There’s no immediate response from Lopez’s attorneys.

The 49-year-old Lopez is scheduled to be executed by lethal injection May 16 at the state prison in Florence in what would be the fourth execution in Arizona this year.

Lopez was convicted of raping, robbing and stabbing a 59-year-old woman to death in her Phoenix apartment on Oct. 29, 1986, after what court records described as a “terrible and prolonged struggle.”

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Update may  7, 2012 source : http://www.azfamily.com

PHOENIX, ARIZ.– Lawyers for a death row inmate set to be executed next week will ask the courts to put a hold on the execution because of concerns about how new members were appointed to the Arizona’s Executive Clemency Board, and whether those new members have had adequate training.

Samuel Villegas Lopez is scheduled to be executed on Wednesday May 16 for the brutal rape and murder of Phoenix woman Estefana “Essie” Holmes in 1986. At his clemency hearing on Monday, his attorneys walked out, claiming the appointments of three new members to the board violated state law.

Kelley Henry, a federal public defender who has worked on Lopez’ case for more than a decade, said she believes there have been at least 16 violations of state statutes surrounding the appointments of the new members.

Among her allegations: that the state violated open meeting laws by failing to properly post information about board vacancies, that the new members have not had the four weeks of training required by statute, and that one of the board members has a clear conflict of interest voting on death penalty cases.

After Henry presented the board with her concerns, the members went into a closed-door executive session for close to an hour. When they re-opened the meeting to the public, they said they believed they could fairly continue the hearing, but Henry and her team disagreed and walked out.

“As we know it at this time, this board does not have the authority to conduct the hearing, or move forward,” Henry said.

After the meeting new board Chairman Jesse Hernandez accused Henry of “grasping at straws” and said he and the other two new members, Melvin Thomas and Brian Livingston, are “more than qualified to serve on the board.”

As for questions regarding the amount of training they’ve one, Hernandez said the training process has been started and that’s within the confines of the law.

Lopez’ attorneys plan to file a lawsuit in court Tuesday asking a judge to step in.

In the meantime, at least one board member, former Attorney General Jack LaSota, said he believed Governor Brewer should vacate the warrant for Lopez’ execution to allow time for the issues to be addressed.

“I think the man is entitled at this point to a hearing by a board that has been determined to be appropriate,” LaSota said, adding, “I think our board is appropriate.”

Matt Benson, a spokesman for the Governor, said the Executive Board of Clemency and the selection committee charged with selecting candidates for the vacant seats acted fully within the law.

Benson said the allegations were nothing more than an attempt to delay justice for the family of Lopez’ victim.

Lopez’ attorneys originally planned to argue before the board that their client’s sentence should be commuted to life without parole because of inadequate legal counsel during his trials and initial appeals.

May 3 , 2012

Us court appeals : pdf file

Update May 2, 2012  Source : http://ktar.com

PHOENIX — Lawyers for an Arizona death-row inmate are fighting his upcoming execution.

Samuel Villegas Lopez’s attorneys argued in one filing Tuesday that three newly appointed clemency board members are unprepared to consider his arguments for mercy.

In another filing Tuesday, they argued that the state Department of Corrections is violating Lopez’s constitutional rights by repeatedly violating its own execution protocol.

Lopez, 49, is scheduled to be executed by lethal injection May 16 in what would be the fourth execution in the state this year.

Lopez was convicted of raping, robbing and stabbing Estafana Holmes, 59, to death in her Phoenix apartment in October 1986, after what court records described as a “terrible and prolonged struggle.”

Petitioner – Appellant,: SAMUEL VILLEGAS LOPEZ
Respondent – Appellee,s: CHARLES L. RYAN and GEORGE HERMAN, Warden, Arizona State Prison – Eyman Complex
Case Number: 12-99001
Filed: May 1, 2012
Court: U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
Nature of Suit: P. Petitions – Death Penalty
Previous Case: Lopez, et al v. Stewart, et al (2:1998cv00072)

ARIZONA – Thomas Arnold Kemp – Execution -10:00 a.m – EXECUTED 10:08 am


april 25, source : various

Thomas Kemp, 63, was pronounced dead at 10:08 a.m. local time at the state prison in Florence, about 60 miles southeast of Phoenix, a state official said.

Kemp was defiant to the end.

“I regret nothing,” he said as his last words.

Then he trembled as the drugs coursed through his veins, took some deep breaths and went still.

Kemp’s last meal was cheeseburger, fries and root beer; boysenberry pie with strawberry ice cream

Thomas Arnold Kemp, 63, is scheduled to be given a lethal injection at 10 a.m. at the state prison in Florence. If it proceeds as planned, the execution will put Arizona on pace to match its busiest year for executions and make it one of the busiest death-penalty states in the nation.

He was, and remains, a hard case. At his sentencing, he saidKe his only regret was not killing an accomplice who turned him in. Kemp did admit to “a deep and abiding sense of remorse,” he said, that his friendship kept him from killing the accomplice.

But he had no remorse for killing Hector Juarez, whose naked body he left in the desert near Marana.

At his sentencing, Kemp noted that Juarez was not an American citizen and he offered up a diatribe against Mexican immigrants that made it clear he had no intention of seeking mercy for the killing, telling the court, “I spit on the law and all those who serve it.”

Kemp’s attorney at the time argued that Kemp had a personality disorder that made him perceive everyone else as dishonest and opportunistic, and therefore moved him to do anything he could to get something for himself.

He still refuses to ask for mercy. He chose not to appear before the Arizona Board of Executive Clemency earlier this month.

Kemp was sentenced to death for kidnapping Hector Soto Juarez from outside Juarez’s Tucson home on July 11, 1992, and robbing him before taking him into the desert near Marana, forcing him to undress and shooting him twice in the head.

Juarez, 25, had just left his apartment and fiancee to get food when Kemp and Jeffery Logan spotted him. They held him at gunpoint and used his debit card to withdraw $200 before driving him to the Silverbell Mine area, where Kemp killed Juarez.

The two men then went to Flagstaff, where they kidnapped a married couple traveling from California to Kansas and made them drive to Durango, Colo., where Kemp raped the man in a hotel room. Later, Kemp and Logan forced the couple to drive to Denver, where the couple escaped. Logan soon after separated from Kemp and called police about Juarez’s murder.

Logan led police to Juarez’s body, and Kemp was arrested. Logan was later sentenced to life in prison.

Kemp has argued that his conviction was unfair because then-prosecutor Kenneth Peasley repeatedly told jurors that Kemp’s homosexuality was behind Juarez’s kidnapping and murder, and that the jury hadn’t been properly vetted for their feelings about gay men.

Outside of wishing he had killed Logan when he had the chance, Kemp said at his sentencing that he had no regrets.

“I don’t show any mercy, and I am certainly not here to plead for mercy,” he said at the sentencing, a time when most defendants convicted of first-degree murder argue that they should be spared the death penalty.

“The so-called victim was not an American citizen and, therefore, was beneath my contempt,” Kemp said and then referred to Juarez using a racial slur. “If more of them ended up dead, the rest of them would soon learn to stay in Mexico where they belong.”

Kemp did not respond to a recent letter from The Associated Press asking whether he feels the same way after nearly 20 years on death row.

In a letter written March 29, Kemp said such a hearing “provides public humiliation of the prisoner without any chance that the board might actually recommend a commutation.”

The letter was provided to the AP through Kemp’s Tucson attorney, Tim Gabrielsen.

“In light of the board’s history of consistently denying requests for commutations, my impression is that a hearing in my case would be nothing short of a dog and pony show,” Kemp wrote.