Colorado Gov.: Should We As A State Be Taking Lives?

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Colorado's Governor granted an indefinite stay for Nathan Dunlap, who was set to be executed in August. In doing so the Gov. questioned the death penalty itself (Photo Credit: RJ Sangosti/The Denver Post via Getty Images).

Colorado’s Governor granted an indefinite stay for Nathan Dunlap, who was set to be executed in August. In doing so the Gov. questioned the death penalty itself (Photo Credit: RJ Sangosti/The Denver Post via Getty Images).

Governor John W. Hickenlooper of Colorado did something rather extraordinary on Wednesday, when he prevented (by granting an indefinite reprieve) the execution of Nathan Dunlap. Dunlap was scheduled to be put to death during the week of August 18 for a horrible crime, the 1993 murder of four people – three teenagers and a mother of two – in an Aurora, Colorado, Chuck E. Cheese.

Hickenlooper’s reprieve was not based on anything having to do with Dunlap’s case, but was based on problems with the death penalty itself. As Hickenlooper writes:

“It is a legitimate question whether we as a state should be taking lives.”

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California Execution Blocked by Two Courts

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California may be keeping its moratorium in place… for now. U.S. District Judge Jeremy Fogel has blocked the Thursday night execution of Albert Brown.  In a separate ruling, the California Supreme Court also blocked Brown’s execution.

Judge Fogel’s decision was a reversal of the one he made last Friday, in which he said Brown’s execution could go forward after Brown himself chose between a single-injection method or a three-drug cocktail. Questions arose, however, when it was discovered that the state’s supply of sodium thiopental, an anesthetic used in executions, is good only until Friday, mere hours after Brown’s scheduled execution. Not only that, but the state only has 7 grams  of the substance on hand.

Earlier, a federal appellate panel had raised concerns about this revelation of the drug’s impending expiration, and wrote: “It is incredible to think that the deliberative process might be driven by the expiration date of the execution drug.”

Judge Fogel noted that the drug’s imminent expiration was a “fact that the defendants did not disclose to this court.” He also said there was “‘no way’ the court could conduct a proper review” before Brown was scheduled to die.