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Louisiana Sues Its Own Death Row Prisoners

Solitary Watch - The Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections last Friday sued every inmate on death row, in an effort to block any one of them from challenging the state’s lethal injection procedures. Each of the 84 prisoners in the “death house” at Angola State Penitentiary was personally served papers in the suit, said Nick Trenticosta, who has represented numerous clients on Angola’s death row.

Trenticosta, who is also director of the non-profit Center for Equal Justice in New Orleans, knows of no other instance in which a state sued its death row inmates en masse over legal questions relating to their execution. “I’ve been hanging around death penalty cases for 25 years,” Trenticosta said in a phone interview this morning, “and I have never seen anything like this.”

The Corrections Department’s litigation is a countersuit, filed in response to an earlier lawsuit claiming that Louisiana’s lethal injection procedure is in violation of state law. That suit was filed by the Capital Post Conviction Project of Louisiana (CPCPL) on behalf of death row prisoner Nathaniel Code. It stated that Louisiana had not met the requirements of its own Administrative Procedures Act in creating guidelines for execution by lethal injection. The state procedure ought to specify exactly what drugs should be used to kill prisoners, the CPCPL argued, rather than simply calling for the administration of drugs. Without such stipulations, Trenticosta said, “They’re saying if we want to pour boiling oil into your veins, we can do it.” Read more.

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