ARIZONA – Samuel Villegas Lopez – Execution June 27, 2012 – 10:00 a.m

June 27, 2012 Source :

The U.S. Supreme Court late Thursday denied death-row inmate Samuel Lopez’s final appeal, clearing the way for his execution at 10 a.m. today in Florence.

Lopez’s attorney, assistant federal public defender Kelley Henry, said there will be no other efforts to block his execution. Lopez, 49, was convicted in 1987 of raping and murdering Estefana Holmes in her Phoenix apartment. On Friday, the Arizona Supreme Court also denied a stay, and Arizona’s Board of Executive Clemency denied a commutation bid.

His execution will be the first in which witnesses will watch, via closed-circuit TV, the insertion of the catheters that deliver the fatal drug pentobarbital. Attorneys for inmates in prior executions condemned the practice of inserting catheters into the prisoners’ groins. Officials said the executioners had found it difficult to find suitable veins in the arms and legs.

In earlier executions, witnesses only saw the prisoner after the catheters had been inserted.

June 26, 2012 Source :

A death-row inmate set to be executed in Arizona on Wednesday has lost his last appeal, clearing the way for the lethal injection to proceed.

The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday turned down a request from Samuel Villegas Lopez to delay his execution to consider arguments that his trial attorneys were incompetent.

June 6, 2012 Source :

ll executions carried out in Arizona are witnessed by members of the public and the media. But the witnesses only see the condemned prisoner as he says his last words and lapses into unconsciousness.

During the next execution, scheduled for June 27, the witnesses also will be able to watch as executioners insert the intravenous catheters that deliver the deadly drug into the prisoner’s veins.

Just last week, a federal judge in Phoenix denied requests by defense attorneys and the media to witness those preparations. A federal judge in Idaho denied a similar request from the media Tuesday.

But in a letter Wednesday to death-row prisoner Samuel Lopez, who faces execution June 27, Arizona Corrections Director Charles Ryan said that witnesses to the execution –– who generally include five members of the media — will be allowed to watch his catheter insertion via closed-circuit television.

The location of the catheters has been an ongoing court issue in the past several executions. The Department of Corrections frequently claims that its medical staff for executions are unable to find suitable veins in the arms or legs of the condemned prisoners, prompting them to surgically insert a line into prisoners’ groin areas.

During a March execution, a condemned man asked to speak to his attorney before the execution as the medical staff repeatedly stuck him without finding a vein, eventually putting the line into the femoral vein in his groin. He was not allowed to speak to the attorney and instead communicated with him by code during his last words.

Ryan has previously refused to allow anyone to view the process.

In May, judges at the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals questioned why Arizona media had not expressed its First Amendment right to witness the procedure.

A 2009 decision by the 9th Circuit ruled that the public has a right to witness all aspects of an execution. Only California and Ohio have allowed it until now.

Nonetheless, the Arizona Department of Corrections fought the motion to allow attorneys into the room to see the catheters inserted. The First Amendment Coalition of Arizona also asked to witness, but a U.S. District Court judge in Phoenix denied their motions.

The attorneys filed an appeal in the 9th Circuit on Wednesday morning asking that a prisoner’s attorneys be allowed to watch the procedure in order to gather evidence, regardless of whether he or she is invited as a witness by the prisoner.

But also Wednesday, Lopez received a note from Ryan informing him that the executioners will be using a single drug, pentobarbital, to carry out his execution, and that he could make a final statement to the witnesses. However, he was told that his microphone would be cut off if he made offensive statements.

A Department of Corrections spokesman said the note to Lopez speaks for itself.

In the last paragraph, Ryan told Lopez that the closed-circuit monitors in the execution chamber will be turned on as the IVs are inserted before the execution, and that there will be a live microphone in the room so that the witnesses can hear what is said during the procedure.

“Over the past two years, ADC stopped illegally importing the execution drugs, switched to a one-drug protocol and now is making the execution process more transparent. These are steps in the right direction,” said Assistant Federal Public Defender Dale Baich, who will witness Lopez’s execution as his guest. “ADC now recognizes that the entire execution process can be transparent and, at the same time, the anonymity of the medical personnel who carry out the executions can be protected.”


  1. well, maybe they can televise executions such that the viewers can pay per minute and defray the cost of state-sanctioned murder. for more money, we could hear a breathless debriefing interview by one of the shielded executioners who are ashamed of committing sanitized murder.

  2. This is a brutal and inhuman form of punishment that does not belong in the twenty first century in any civilized nation. While the crimes commited by some people seem so heinous and cruel that one is at a loss as to how society is to punish them, however executing them is not the answer. It just brings us down to their level, a level no civilized human being wants to be at.
    Lets abolish the death penalty, its not relevent in the twenty first century.

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