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I. Development of Lethal Injection Protocols

It wasn’t a medical decision. It was based on the other states that had all used a similar dose.
—Donald Courts, pharmacy director at Louisiana State Penitentiary, explaining how Louisiana chose the specific chemicals and dosage amounts for its lethal injection protocol2
The only thing that mattered was that the guy ended up dead. . . . [The warden] wasn’t worried too much about the amount of medicine. He had certainly used the same types of medicine, but . . .  he wasn’t totally concerned about the amounts of what it may or may not do. They ended up dead, and that’s all he was worried about.
—Annette Viator, former chief legal counsel for Louisiana State Penitentiary, explaining her discussion with a Texas warden regarding the drugs used during Texas’s lethal injection executions3

Different methods of execution have succeeded one another throughout the twentieth century in the United States, as changing public opinion and sensitivities has led public officials to reject older methods in favor of newer ones. At the time of their introduction, the electric chair and lethal gas were both touted as more humane forms of execution compared to earlier methods.4 Each, however, proved cruel. Electrocution, in particular, shocked witnesses when, for example, prisoners erupted in flames.5

In the late 1970s, states turned to lethal injection, believing this was both a less expensive as well as a more humane way to kill condemned inmates.6 In 1977, Oklahoma legislators passed the first lethal injection statute.7 Texas passed a lethal injection statue the next day.8 By 1981, five states had adopted lethal injection statutes.9 Today, thirty-seven of the thirty-eight death penalty states have lethal injection statutes.10 In nineteen states, lethal injection is the only method of execution allowed.11

States in the United States rely almost solely on lethal injections to execute condemned inmates. All twelve executions to date (as of April 1, 2006) have been by lethal injection, as were all sixty in 2005.12 Of the 1,016 executions in the United States since the death penalty was reinstated in 1976, 848 were by lethal injection—three by the federal government and the rest by states.13 At the start of 2006, there were 3,373 prisoners on death row—3,363 of whom face the possibility of a lethal injection execution.14

The statutes of fifteen states use language similar to Oklahoma’s, requiring the use of a “lethal quantity of an ultra-short acting barbiturate or other similar drug in combination with a chemical paralytic to cause death.”15 It is not clear if the legislators intended the prisoner to die from the anesthetic or from the asphyxiation caused by the paralytic agent, or both. According to Dr. Jay Chapman, the architect of Oklahoma’s two-drug statute, he “didn’t care which drug killed the prisoner, as long as one of them did.”16 Thirteen states refer to an injection of a “substance or substances in a quantity to cause death” or language very close to that wording.17 Seven states provide simply for the use of “lethal injection” executions.18 Two state statutes use slightly different language from all the rest.19 Only one state statute mandates corrections officials to choose among lethal injection options to find the most humane procedure possible.20 Despite the variations in state statutory language authorizing lethal injections, thirty-six state corrections agencies today use the same three-drug sequence of sodium thiopental, pancuronium bromide and potassium chloride in their lethal injection drug protocols.21

No state statute prescribes drug dosages and the specific methods of administration; legislators have left these decisions to corrections officials. Nor does any state statute prescribe the manner of intravenous line access, the certification or training required for those who participate in executions, or other details concerning the administration of the drugs or monitoring of the procedures.22 Legislators have given correctional agencies the authority “to promulgate necessary rules and regulations to facilitate the implementation of execution by lethal injection.”23 For example, in Florida the legislature did not specify how death by lethal injection would be accomplished, but left this decision up to the Department of Corrections, “because it has personnel better qualified to make such determinations.”24

The public record offers scant insight into the basis on which state legislatures that chose specific lethal injection drugs did so. An analysis of state statutes and legislative histories provides no evidence that legislatures—other than possibly Oklahoma—relied on, or even sought input from, medical and scientific experts.25 Rather, they simply copied the protocols developed by their colleagues from other states. For example:

A Circuit Court Judge in Kentucky noted:
In developing a lethal injection protocol, the Commonwealth of Kentucky, Department of Corrections, did not conduct any independent scientific or medical studies or consult any medical professionals concerning the drugs and dosage amounts to be injected into the condemned. Kentucky appears to be no different from any other state or the Government of the United States.26
  • When asked how the lethal injection protocol committee put together Tennessee’s procedures, a committee member responded: “There wasn’t a lot of discussion on it once the team had access to the information that was provided from other states. Indianapolis, Indiana, Florida, Texas, they all used the same chemicals.”27 The Tennessee Supreme Court found that Tennessee’s protocol “was developed simply by copying the state method currently in use by some thirty other states.”28
  • According to a memorandum from the Washington State Department of Corrections: “All of our policies and procedures have been designed utilizing the State of Texas as a model … [T]he states of Texas and Missouri have conducted numerous executions and remain the best and tested source of information.”29
  • A Wyoming warden noted “that Wyoming’s injection procedure is cloned from the Texas injection procedure. Visited Warden Jack Pursley at Huntsville, Texas and participated in an execution seminar [sic]. So I am confident that Wyoming’s policy based upon proven Texas procedures will be reliable.”30
  • According to a former warden of the Colorado State Penitentiary, Colorado corrections officials went to Texas and Oklahoma to examine how they conducted lethal injection executions and then copied them, because their lethal injection protocols “seemed time-honored, tested, well-designed, and effective.”31
  • The Secretary of Pennsylvania’s Department of Corrections noted that they “adopted almost to a T” the Texas lethal injection protocol.32


In 1977, Oklahoma enacted the first lethal injection statute. Its history illustrates the minimal inquiry legislators conducted before selecting a specific method of lethal injection. Facing the expensive prospect of fixing the state’s broken electric chair, the Oklahoma legislature was looking for a cheaper and more humane way to execute its condemned inmates.33 State Assembly member Bill Wiseman wanted to introduce a bill in the Oklahoma House of Representatives allowing for lethal injection executions in Oklahoma.34 In 1976, he approached the Oklahoma Medical Association for help developing a drug protocol, but it refused to get involved based on ethical concerns about the cooperation of medical professionals in the development of execution methods.35 Wiseman approached Dr. Jay Chapman, the state’s medical examiner, and asked for his help in drafting a lethal injection statute.36 Despite having “no experience with this sort of thing,” Chapman agreed to help Wiseman.37 Sitting in Wiseman’s office in the Capitol, Chapman dictated the following lines, which Wiseman jotted down on a yellow legal pad: “An intravenous saline drip shall be started in the prisoner’s arm, into which shall be introduced a lethal injection consisting of an ultra-short-acting barbiturate in combination with a chemical paralytic.”38 Meanwhile, State Senator Bill Dawson, concerned about the cost of replacing Oklahoma’s broken electric chair, was also interested in introducing a lethal injection bill in the Oklahoma Senate. Senator Dawson consulted with his friend, Dr. Stanley Deutsch, then head of the Oklahoma Medical School’s Anesthesiology Department.39 After reviewing the language Chapman had composed for Assembly member Wiseman, Deutsch noted, in a letter to Senator Dawson, that anesthetizing condemned inmates would be a “rapidly pleasant way of producing unconsciousness” leading to death.40

Oklahoma’s state statute copies nearly word-for-word the methods proposed by Chapman and approved in Deutsch’s brief letter, stating that “the punishment of death must be inflicted by continuous, intravenous administration of a lethal quantity of an ultra-short-acting barbiturate” in “combination with a chemical paralytic agent until death is pronounced by a licensed physician according to accepted standards of medical practice.”41 There is no evidence that Oklahoma state legislators consulted any other medical experts before adopting their lethal injection statute.42 Human Rights Watch asked Chapman why he chose the two drugs (an ultra-short-acting barbiturate and a paralytic agent) for lethal injection executions. He stated: “I didn’t do any research. I just knew from having been placed under anesthesia myself, what we needed. I wanted to have at least two drugs in doses that would each kill the prisoner, to make sure if one didn’t kill him, the other would.”43 The Oklahoma state legislature has not significantly amended the statute regarding the drugs to be used during lethal injections since its original enactment.44

In addition to his work on the statute, Chapman developed the original three-drug protocol used by the Oklahoma Department of Corrections.45 Although Oklahoma’s statute specifies two drugs, Chapman included a third drug, potassium chloride.46 When Human Rights Watch asked Chapman why he added a third drug to the two drugs specified in the statute, he replied, “Why not?” He went on to explain that, even though the other chemicals, in the dosages called for, would kill the prisoner, “You just wanted to make sure the prisoner was dead at the end, so why not just add a third lethal drug?” He is not sure why he picked potassium chloride. “I didn’t do any research … it’s just common knowledge. Doctors know potassium chloride is lethal. Why does it matter why I chose it?”47


Almost immediately after Oklahoma passed its lethal injection statute, the Texas legislature passed a law authorizing executions by lethal injection.48 Within ten years of the law’s enactment, Texas had executed fifty-three prisoners by lethal injection.49 The law delegates responsibility for developing protocols regarding the lethal substances to be used to the state corrections agency.50 Because Texas was the first state to actually execute anyone by lethal injection, and immediately established itself as the state with the most lethal injection executions,51 its protocols have had enormous influence on other states. Many state corrections officials consulted with Texas officials when developing their own protocols.52

Like its Oklahoma predecessor, the Texas protocol involves the use of three drugs.53 But the state has refused to provide additional information on its procedures for lethal injections, citing security concerns.54 The observations of Louisiana corrections officials who visited Texas shed light on the ad hoc and unscientific manner in which Texas has conducted its lethal injection executions.

In 1990, the Louisiana Department of Corrections formed a committee to create a lethal injection protocol. As a member of the committee, the Department’s chief legal counsel consulted with the warden responsible for executions in the Texas Department of Corrections. She found the experience “surprising.”55 The warden refused to speak with the attorney over the phone about his protocols, explaining “he didn’t say these things on the phone that he would rather say in person.”56

When the attorney arrived in Texas with other members of the committee, the warden “asked us if any of us had tape recorders, if any of us were wired.”57 The warden then proceeded to speak about Texas’s lethal injection protocols. According to the attorney, “He didn’t really have so much of a policy about it, as he did just sort of—they did whatever worked at the time. He pretty much told us he didn’t have a strict policy.”58 When the attorney inquired about the “medical portion” of Texas’s lethal injection protocol, the warden told her:

[T]hat the only thing that mattered was that the guy ended up dead and that he wasn’t worried too much about the amount of medicine. He had certainly used the same types of medicine, but that he wasn’t totally concerned about the amounts or what it may or may not do. They ended up dead, and that’s all he was worried about. The rest of our conversation with him tracked that same thing. He was not terribly concerned about policy, procedure, or who did what, when, where. Just so the right result happened.59

The Louisiana State Penitentiary pharmacy director has recounted a conversation he had in 1990 with the Texas Department of Corrections pharmacy director about the drugs Texas used in its lethal injections:

We were getting ready to hang up the phone, and I said, ‘I have but just one question I need to ask you. Every other state I have spoken to is using 2 grams of sodium pentothal. Why are y’all using five?’ And he started laughing and said, ‘Well, you see, when we did our very first execution, the only thing I had on hand was a 5-gram vial. And rather than do the paperwork on wasting 3 grams, we just gave all five.’60

Another member of the Louisiana committee observed a Texas lethal injection and noted that the administration of the drugs was on a “time frame that was fairly tight.”61  It seemed to him the execution team simply administered the drugs one after the other, without pausing to ascertain whether the drugs were having their intended effect.62


In 1998, in response to the passage of a lethal injection statute, the Commissioner of Tennessee’s Department of Corrections set up an “ad hoc” committee to develop an execution protocol. The committee was composed solely of department personnel, none of whom had any medical or scientific background.63 The group met four times over five months; none of the meetings were public nor did the group seek public input.64 The committee did not consult with physicians or pharmacologists, or with any other person who had medical or scientific training.65 The committee gave Warden Ricky Bell, who had no college degree, the task of putting together the execution protocol.66 An internal memorandum, written by a committee member, warned the committee about other states’ problems with executions by lethal injection.67 Nonetheless, Bell modeled Tennessee’s present lethal injection execution protocols entirely on information he received from two other states’ corrections departments—Indiana and Texas.68

Lethal Injection Machines

The lack of care with which states developed their lethal injection protocols is well exemplified by their willingness to buy lethal injection machines from Fred Leuchter. From 1979 to 1990, Leuchter, a layperson with no engineering, medical or pharmacological training, was the only supplier of execution equipment in the United States. He built, installed, and repaired many different types of machinery for executions, including gas chambers, electrocution chairs, and the now-defunct lethal injection machine.69 He tested his theories about what types and dosages of chemicals to use in the lethal injection machine by experimenting on pigs.70In his promotional material, Leuchter promised that his lethal injection machine would “insure a problem-free execution.”71 Seventeen states purchased the machine.72 When he had an order to fill, Leuchter manufactured the machine in the basement of his house.73

The lethal injection machine had two parts—a “control module” and a “delivery module”—which allowed the executioners to start the lethal injection from a room separate from the inmate. The control module essentially consisted of two on/off switches, only one of which actually triggered the chemicals to flow from the delivery module. In this way, the two people assigned to push the two buttons would not know which one of them actually started the administration of the lethal injection drugs. The delivery module contained two syringes filled with saline, two syringes filled with sodium thiopental, two syringes filled with pancuronium bromide, and two syringes filled with potassium chloride. Once the machine was activated, it delivered the drugs, with saline flushes in between, for ten seconds each, one minute apart from one another, to an intravenous line running from the delivery module to the prisoner’s vein. With the use of this machine, an execution should take “four minutes.”74

Leuchter’s execution equipment business stopped abruptly in 1990. It did not stop because correction agencies realized that Leuchter was totally unqualified to construct such equipment, but because he testified as an expert witness on behalf of a Holocaust denier.75 In the course of discrediting Leuchter as an expert witness, the prosecutor established that Leuchter in fact had no engineering credentials, and held only a Bachelor of Arts degree in history.76

It is not clear how many states actually used Leuchter’s lethal injection machine or how many prisoners were unwitting guinea pigs for his deadly invention. What is remarkable, however, is that states ever bought Leuchter’s lethal injection machines in the first place. One can only speculate as to how much—if any—research the states did into Leuchter and his lethal injection machine before they signed purchase agreements.

Public Access to Lethal Injection Protocols

Human Rights Watch is aware of only one state, New Jersey, which has ever opened its lethal injection protocol to public input and comment.77 While thirty-six lethal injection states make public the names of the drugs used during their lethal injection executions and the basic method of administration, corrections officials claim that reasons of security prevent them from making the entire protocol available to the public. Human Rights Watch does not know if the parts of the protocols that remain secret provide fuller details of what the execution team is supposed to do before, during, and after the execution. 

Some states do not even have written protocols. Louisiana did not have a written protocol until 2002, nine years after the legislature authorized lethal injection executions. During that period, seven prisoners were executed by lethal injection, with the protocol passed down by “word of mouth” between members of various execution teams.78 The Florida Department of Corrections has not promulgated an administrative regulation nor published any guidance prescribing the lethal injection procedures it uses to execute condemned prisoners. The Florida Supreme Court agreed with the corrections department that a published protocol is not needed because the department has the authority to change its rules any time for any reason.79

[2] Special Hearing, Code v. Cain, Case No. 138,860-A, February 11, 2003, Vol. II, p. 33.

[3] Special Hearing, Louisiana v. Code, Case No. 138,860, March 18, 2003, Vol. II, p. 58-59.

[4] Concerns over the barbarity of hanging led states to change their method of execution from hanging to electrocution. Even though the first electrocution executions were terribly botched, by 1913, thirteen states had changed to electrocution because of “a well-grounded belief that electrocution is less painful and more humane than hanging.” Malloy v. South Carolina, 237 U.S. 180, 185 (1915) (noting the adoption of electrocution by eleven states following the decision by a New York commission that it was more humane). See generally Craig Brandon, The Electric Chair: An Unnatural American History (New York: McFarland & Company, 1999), p. 67-88.  By 1949, twenty-six states had changed to electrocution. After numerous electrocution botches, states began rejecting electrocution execution methods in favor of lethal gas. Nevada was the first state to adopt lethal gas executions, in 1921. In an attempt to make lethal gas executions more humane, the Nevada legislature passed a law providing that lethal gas would be administered “without warning and while [the inmate was] asleep in his cell.” See William J. Bowers, Glenn L. Pierce, and John F. McDevitt, Legal Homicide: Death as Punishment in America, 1864-1982 (Boston: Northeastern University Press, 1984), p. 12. In State v. Gee Jon, the Nevada Supreme Court emphasized that the legislature “sought to provide a method of inflicting the death penalty in the most humane manner known to modern science.” 211 P. 676, 682 (Nevada 1923).

[5] On August 10, 1982, Virginia executed Frank J. Coppola by electrocution. An attorney who was present stated that it took two fifty-five-second jolts to kill Coppola. During the second jolt, Coppola’s head and leg caught on fire, and the room smelled like smoke and burning flesh. Deborah W. Denno, “Is Electrocution an Unconstitutional Method of Execution? The Engineering of Death over the Century,” William and Mary Law Review, 1994, p. 551, 664-665. On July 8, 1999, Florida executed Allen Lee Davis by electrocution. Davis’s body was lit on fire during the electrocution. His face, body, and head were deeply burned. During the execution, Davis’s face became red, and he tried to get the guard’s attention by making noises that witnesses described as “screams,” “yells,” “moans,” “high-pitched murmurs,” “squeals,” or “groans.” Brief for Petitioner, Bryan v. Moore, 528 U.S. 960 (1999), p. 3 (citations omitted). “Before he was pronounced dead … the blood from his mouth had poured onto the collar of his white shirt, and the blood on his chest had spread to about the size of a dinner plate, even oozing through the buckle holes on the leather chest strap holding him to the chair.” “Davis Execution Gruesome,” Gainesville Sun, July 8, 1999, p. A1. Davis’s execution was the first in Florida’s new execution chair, built especially to accommodate his 350-pound frame. Later, Florida Supreme Court Justice Leander Shaw said, “The color photos of Davis depict a man who—for all appearances—was brutally tortured to death by the citizens of Florida.” Provenzo v. State, 744 So.2d 413, 440 (Florida 1999). 

[6] Deborah Denno, “Lethally Humane?” America’s Experiment with Capital Punishment: Reflections on the Past, Present, and Future of the Ultimate Penal Sanction, James R. Acker, Robert M. Bohm, and Charles S. Lanier, eds. (Durham: Carolina Academic Press, 2003), p. 711. E.g., in 1981, several years after Oklahoma became the first state to adopt lethal injection, a spokesperson for the Oklahoma Corrections Department confirmed that the state changed from the electric chair to lethal injection for “humane” reasons: “People don’t realize it, but the electric chair can take 11 minutes to kill people. The first shock knocks you unconscious, but then it would just cook you. You would literally fry.” Mary Thornton, “Death By Injection,” Washington Post, October 6, 1981, p. A1. “Being a former farmer and horse trainer, I know what its like to try to eliminate an injured horse by shooting him . . . Now you call the veterinarian and the vet gives it a shot and the horse goes to sleep—that’s it. I myself have wondered if maybe this isn’t part of our problem [with capital punishment], if maybe we should review and see if there aren’t even more humane methods now—the simple shot or tranquilizer.” Henry Scharzschild, “Homicide by Injection,” New York Times, December 23, 1982, p. A15 (quoting Ronald Reagan). On National Public Radio’s Talk of the Nation, aired February 23, 2006, State Senator David Ralston, a Republican from Georgia, stated: “I know other states debated the propriety of using electrocution and our Supreme Court here in 2001 decided that that was a cruel and inhumane form of punishment. The legislature in response to that adopted what was becoming more accepted, and that was the lethal injection.” See Talk of the Nation Transcript, (retrieved April 13, 2006) (copy on file at Human Rights Watch).

[7] Human Rights Watch telephone interview with Dr. Jay Chapman, former Oklahoma chief medical examiner, Santa Rosa, California, March 23, 2006.

[8] See Vince Beiser, “A Guilty Man,” Mother Jones, September/October 2005, (retrieved March 30, 2006). See also Death Penalty Information Center (DPIC), “Execution Database,” (retrieved March 31, 2006).

[9] DPIC, “Execution Database.”

[10] Nebraska is the only state that requires execution by electrocution. DPIC, “Methods of Execution,” (retrieved March 31, 2006).

[11]See Appendix A for a list of states, which allow the death penalty, and the methods of execution allowed.

[12] DPIC, “Methods of Execution.”

[13] Ibid. 

[14] Criminal Justice Project, NAACP Legal Defense Fund, Death Row USA, January 1, 2006, (retrieved April 13, 2006).

[15] These fifteen states with two-drug statutes are: Arkansas, Idaho, Illinois, Maryland, Mississippi, Montana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Wyoming.

[16] Interview with Chapman.

[17] These thirteen states with statutes that refer generally to “substances” or “drugs” sufficient to cause death are: Arizona, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, New York, Ohio, Texas, and Washington.

[18] These seven states with simple “lethal injection” statutes are: Alabama, Florida, Missouri, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia.

[19] These two states are Colorado and Nevada. See Colorado Review Statute Section 16-11-401 (“sodium thiopental or other equally or more effective substance sufficient to cause death”); Nevada Review Statute Annotated Section 176.355(1) (“a lethal drug”).

[20] In Kansas, the statute reads: “The mode of carrying out a sentence of death in this state shall be by intravenous injection of a substance or substances in a quantity sufficient to cause death in a swift and humane manner.” Kansas Criminal Procedure Code Section 22-4001.

[21] The “two drug” statutes do not expressly prohibit the use of additional drugs, so the correction agencies were able to adopt three-drug protocols.

[22] Deborah Denno, “When Legislatures Delegate Death: The Troubling Paradox Behind State Uses of Electrocution and Lethal Injection and What it Says About Us,” Ohio State Law Journal, Vol. 63, 2002, p. 207-260 (includes redacted versions of state lethal injection protocols).

[23] Tennessee Code Annotated 40-23-114(c).

[24] Sims v. State, 754 So. 2d 657, 670 (Florida 2000).

[25] Human Rights Watch telephone interview with Deborah Denno, professor of law at Fordham University Law School, New York, New York, March 16, 2006. Denno has conducted the only existing comprehensive study of lethal injection state protocols. In addition to her academic work, she serves as an expert witness on behalf of prisoners challenging state lethal injection procedures.

[26] Baze, et al. v. Rees, et al., Case No. 04-CI-1094, July 8, 2005, p. 6.

[27] Testimony of Warden Richard Peabody, Special Hearing, Abdr’Rahman v Sundquist et al., Case No. 02-2236-III,Vol. II, September 16, 2003, p. 63.

[28] Abdur’Rahman v. Bredesen, et al., Tennessee Supreme Court, October 17, 2005, No. M2003-01767-COA-R3-CV, p. 77a.

[29] Unsigned memorandum from the State of Washington, Department of Corrections, to Louisiana State Penitentiary Warden Richard L. Peabody, dated October 10, 1990, read into evidence by Warden Peabody, Louisiana v. Code, p. 108.

[30] Letter from Wyoming Warden Duane Shillinger to Louisiana Warden Richard Peabody, dated October 2, 1990, read into evidence by Warden Peabody, Louisiana v. Code, p. 108-109.

[31] Human Rights Watch telephone interview with Gene Atherton, former warden of the Colorado State Penitentiary (where death row is located in Colorado), March 30, 2006.

[32] Human Rights Watch telephone interview with Jeffrey A. Beard, secretary, Pennsylvania Department of Corrections, March 28, 2006.

[33] Denno, “When Legislatures Delegate Death,” p. 96.

[34] Beiser, “A Guilty Man.”

[35] Ibid.

[36] Interview with Chapman.

[37] Ibid.

[38] Ibid.

[39] Denno, “When Legislatures Delegate Death,” p. 95.

[40] Letter from Stanley Deutsch, Ph.D., M.D., professor of anesthesiology, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, to the Honorable Bill Dawson, Oklahoma state senator, February 28, 1977 (copy on file with Human Rights Watch) (Deutsch Letter).

[41] Oklahoma Statue Annotated Title 22, Section 1014(A). Also, see Deutsch Letter (Deutsch writes that unconsciousness and then death would be produced by “the administration … intravenously … in [specified] quantities of …an ultra short acting barbiturate” in “combination” with a “nueormuscular [sic] blocking agent” to create a “long duration of paralysis”). See also Oklahoma Engrossed Senate Bill No. 10, March 2, 1977 (copy on file with Human Rights Watch). Some senators disagreed with the state’s adoption of lethal injection executions. One senator’s proposed amendment, which failed, called for “inserting the following after the word ‘by’ on line four, adopting the Biblical procedure of ‘Eye for Eye’, i.e., each person convicted shall be executed in the same manner as the death of the victim for which the conviction occurred, and striking all remaining language through line eight on p. 2.” Amendment Motion, April 20, 1977 (copy on file with Human Rights Watch).

[42] Denno, “When Legislatures Delegate Death,” p. 96.

[43] Interview with Chapman.

[44] Oklahoma Statue Annotated, Title 22, Section 1014(A).

[45] Interview with Chapman.

[46] Ibid.

[47] Ibid.

[48] Denno, “When Legislatures Delegate Death,” p. 96.

[49] DPIC, “Execution Database.”

[50] Texas Criminal Procedure Code Annotated Article 43.14.

[51] Texas has executed 362 condemned inmates by lethal injection. DPIC, “Execution Database.”

[52] E.g., Colorado, Florida, Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri, Tennessee, Washington, and Wyoming (as described at the beginning of the section of this report on “Development of Lethal Injection Protocols”).

[53] Texas Department of Criminal Justice, “Death Row Facts,” (retrieved March 21, 2006).

[54] Letter to Alberta Phillips, Editorial Department of the Austin-American Statesman, from James L. Hall, assistant general counsel, Office of the General Counsel, Texas Department of Criminal Justice, dated January 2, 2004. Hall explains:

Information about execution procedures is held in the strictest of confidence, is generally not reduced to writing, and is known only to a few people within the Department. That confidentiality is maintained to ensure that security procedures established for executions are not compromised. Thus, to the extent we have written policies and procedures responsive to your request, that information has been found to be confidential and not available to the public.

(copy of letter on file with Human Rights Watch).

[55] See Testimony of Annette Viator, Special Hearing, Cain v. Code, Case No. 138,860-A, March 18, 2003, Vol. II, p. 32.

[56] Ibid.

[57] Ibid.

[58] Ibid., p. 33.

[59] Ibid.

[60] Testimony of Donald Courts, Special Hearing, Louisiana v. Code, Case No. 138,860, March 18, 2003, Vol. II, p. 58-59.

[61] Testimony of Deputy Warden Richard Peabody, Special Hearing, Louisiana v. Code,  Case No. 138,860A, September 16, 2003, p. 48.

[62] Regardless of any misgivings they had, the Louisiana execution protocol team chose a lethal injection protocol for Louisiana that “paralleled the procedure in Texas fairly closely.” Ibid., p. 46.

[63] See Memorandum from Jim Rose, assistant commissioner of operations, to Donal Campbell, commissioner for the Tennessee Department of Corrections, June 22, 1998 (copy on file with Human Rights Watch). For a description of the committee members qualifications (or lack thereof), see Deposition of Debra K. Inglis, general counsel for the Tennessee Department of Corrections, Rahman v. Sundquist, et al., Case No. 02-2236-III, March 25, 2003, p. 15-16, 38 (copy on file with Human Rights Watch) (Deposition of Inglis).

[64] Memorandums from the four meetings are on file with Human Rights Watch. See also Testimony of Ricky Bell, Transcript of Proceedings, Abu-Ali Abdur’Rahman v. Sundquist, Case No. 02-2236-III, May 29, 2003, p.204 (copy on file with Human Rights Watch) (Testimony of Bell).

[65] Inglis Deposition, p. 15-16; Testimony of Bell, p. 200-209.

[66]Testimony of Bell, p. 200.

[67] Memorandum from Virginia Lewis to the Committee Members (copy on file with Human Rights Watch).  Quoting from a 1997 National Legal Aid and Defender Association study, the memo states: “Lethal injections are also the most frequently botched means of execution—defined to include unanticipated problems or delays that caused, or could have caused, unnecessary agony for the prisoner and/or witnesses.” Lewis continues in her own words, “Unfortunately the critics consider length of time and difficulty in finding suitable veins to be ‘botched’ cases and the criticism is worse when veins collapse and the IV has to be restarted.” Ibid. (It is not clear from the committee’s notes or committee member trial testimony what Lewis’s title was within the Department of Corrections.)

[68] Petitioner’s Brief, Abdur’Rahman v. Bredesen, et al., February 15, 2006, p. 4.

[69] Beiser, “A Guilty Man.” See also James Bandler, “Fred Leuchter: Killing Time with Death’s Efficiency Expert,” In These Times, June 20-July 3, 1990, p. 22.

[70] Stephen Trombley, The Execution Protocol: Inside America’s Capital Punishment Industry (New York: Crown Publishers, 1992), p. 76-78.

[71] Fred A. Leuchter Associates, Inc., “Execution by Lethal Injection Missouri: Lethal Injection Machine Manual State of Missouri,” October 15, 1988 (copy on file with Human Rights Watch).

[72] According to Leuchter, during his time in business, he consulted with or provided equipment to twenty-seven states. Seventeen states and the United States Army purchased lethal injection machines from Leuchter. Those states included: Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware, Illinois, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Texas, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming. Denno, “Is Electrocution an Unconstitutional Method of Execution?” p. 627, footnote 496.

[73] Trombley, The Execution Protocol, p. vii.

[74] Ibid, p. 78.

[75] Leuchter himself denied that the Nazis could have killed six million Jews in gas chambers. His anti-Holocaust conclusions were printed in a book, The Leuchter Report. Fred Leuchter, The Leuchter Report: The End of Myth: An Engineering Report on the Alleged Execution Gas Chambers of Auschwitz, Birkenau and Madjanek, (Poland: Samisdat Publishers, Ltd., 1988), (retrieved April 1, 2006).

[76] Bandler, “Fred Leuchter,” p. 22-23. Despite the fact that Leuchter admitted misrepresenting himself as an engineer to various states when he provided equipment or advice for their death penalty practice, Leuchter never faced criminal charges. Consent Agreement, Commonwealth v. Leuchter, No. EN 90-102, Massachusetts District Court, signed June 11, 1991, p. 1.

[77] In 2001, the New Jersey Department of Corrections (NJDOC) proposed to re-adopt and amend the regulations setting forth New Jersey’s lethal injection protocol. The amendment also included the removal of the emergency crash cart from the execution chamber. New Jerseyans Against the Death Penalty (NJDAP) brought an action challenging the regulations. The court held that the proposed changes in the regulations lacked an adequate administrative record demonstrating that they were based upon “reasoned medical opinion.” In Re Readoption, 367 New Jersey Superior, p. 69. Without such a record, the court found, NJDOC was unable to demonstrate that the regulations at issue comport with contemporary standards of decency and morality. Ibid. NJDOC subsequently held a public hearing on February 4, 2005 but has yet to promulgate final regulations. The process was halted when then Governor Richard Codey signed into law a death penalty moratorium for New Jersey at the beginning of 2006. See “New Jersey's execution protocol up for comment,” (retrieved March 22, 2006).

[78] Testimony of Dora Rabalais, director of legal programs at Louisiana State Penitentiary, Angola, Special Hearing, Code v. Cain, Vol. 1, No. 138,860-A, February 10, 2003, p. 25. “Word of mouth” from Testimony of David Meredith, former member of Louisiana State Penitentiary Execution Team, Special Hearing, Code v. Cain, Vol. 1, No. 138,860-A, February 10, 2003, p. 19.

[79] Sims v. State, 754 So. 2d 657, 670 (Florida 2000).

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