Alabama must disclose status of nitrogen hypoxia executions

Legal Insight 2022/09/14 13:28   Bookmark and Share
A federal judge told Alabama to stop being vague and give a firm answer by Thursday evening on if the prison system is ready to use the untested execution method of nitrogen hypoxia at an execution next week.

U.S. District Judge R. Austin Huffaker, Jr. gave the state the deadline to file an affidavit, or declaration, on whether the state could try to execute inmate Alan Miller by nitrogen hypoxia on Sept. 22 if the use of lethal injection is blocked. The order came after the state dangled the possibility during a Monday court hearing of being ready to become the first state to attempt an execution with nitrogen hypoxia.

Nitrogen hypoxia is a proposed execution method in which death would be caused by forcing the inmate to breathe only nitrogen, thereby depriving him or her of the oxygen needed to maintain bodily functions. It’s authorized as an execution method in three states — Alabama, Oklahoma and Mississippi — but has never been used.

The state provided “vague and imprecise statements regarding the readiness and intent to move forward with an execution on September 22, 2022, by nitrogen hypoxia,” Huffaker said.

The judge asked the state Monday whether it was ready to use the method at Miller’s execution. A state attorney replied that it was “very likely” it could use nitrogen hypoxia next week, but said the state prison commissioner has the final decision.

“On or before September 15, 2022 at 5:00 p.m. CDT, the defendants shall file an affidavit or declaration of Commissioner John Q. Hamm, Attorney General Steve Marshall, or other appropriate official with personal knowledge, definitively setting forth whether or not the Defendants can execute the Plaintiff by nitrogen hypoxia on September 22, 2022,” the judge wrote in a Tuesday order.

Miller is seeking to block his scheduled execution by lethal injection, claiming prison staff lost paperwork he returned in 2018 choosing nitrogen hypoxia as his execution method.

Miller testified Monday that he is scared of needles so he signed a form selecting nitrogen hypoxia as his execution method. He said he left the form in his cell door tray for an prison officer to pick up. The state said there is no evidence to corroborate his claim.
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Kenya’s Supreme Court upholds Ruto’s narrow presidential win

Legal Insight 2022/09/06 09:29   Bookmark and Share
Kenya’s Supreme Court on Monday unanimously rejected challenges to the official results of the presidential election and upheld Deputy President William Ruto’s narrow win in East Africa’s most stable democracy.

Ruto is expected to be sworn in on Sept. 13. Opposition candidate Raila Odinga had alleged irregularities in the otherwise peaceful Aug. 9 election that was marked by last-minute drama when the electoral commission split and traded accusations of misconduct.

The court found little or no evidence for the various allegations and called some “nothing more than hot air.” It also expressed puzzlement why the four dissenting commissioners participated until the final minutes in a vote-tallying process they criticized as opaque.

The commission “needs far-reaching reforms,” the court acknowledged, “but are we to nullify an election on the basis of a last-minute boardroom rupture?”

The Supreme Court shocked Kenyans in the previous election in 2017 by overturning the results of the presidential election, a first in Africa, and ordered a new vote after Odinga filed a challenge. He then boycotted that new election.

This time, Odinga was backed by former rival and outgoing President Uhuru Kenyatta in the latest example of shifting political alliances. Odinga’s team had challenged the technology used by the electoral commission and alleged that voting results had been tampered with, and it argued that the electoral commission chair had essentially acted alone in declaring the winner.

The election had been seen as the country’s most transparent, with results from tens of thousands of polling stations posted online within hours of the vote for Kenyans to follow the tally themselves. Such reforms were in part the result of Odinga’s previous election challenge.
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Pa. man who attacked police on Jan. 6 gets 46-month sentence

Legal Insight 2022/08/29 12:01   Bookmark and Share
A Pennsylvania man was sentenced Friday to 46 months in federal prison for attacking a police officer with a Donald Trump flag during the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riot, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

The newspaper reported that Howard Richardson, 72, of King of Prussia, told the court in Washington “there’s no excuse” for his behavior and pleaded for mercy.

But U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly responded, “Your presence and actions in joining other insurrectionists was an inexcusable attack on our democracy.”

Richardson’s sentence is one of the longest yet among those who have been prosecuted for storming the Capitol on Jan. 6 to disrupt the certification of President Joe Biden’s 2020 election victory. In addition to the nearly four-year prison sentence, Richardson was ordered to serve three years under court supervision after his release and to pay $2,000 in restitution.

Richardson never entered the Capitol, the Inquirer reported, but prosecutors said his attack on a Washington, D.C., police officer merited a lengthy prison term.

According to the paper, police body camera footage showed Richardson bludgeoning an officer outside the Capitol with a metal flagpole. NBC News reported that Richardson also joined a mob using a giant Trump billboard as a battering ram.

Approximately 850 people have been charged with federal crimes for their conduct on Jan. 6. Over 350 of them have pleaded guilty, mostly to misdemeanors, and over 230 have been sentenced. Dozens of Capitol riot defendants who pleaded guilty to misdemeanor offenses have been sentenced to terms of imprisonment ranging from seven days to five months.
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Some Capitol rioters try to profit from their Jan. 6 crimes

Legal Insight 2022/08/14 15:20   Bookmark and Share
Facing prison time and dire personal consequences for storming the U.S. Capitol, some Jan. 6 defendants are trying to profit from their participation in the deadly riot, using it as a platform to drum up cash, promote business endeavors and boost social media profiles.

A Nevada man jailed on riot charges asked his mother to contact publishers for a book he was writing about “the Capitol incident.” A rioter from Washington state helped his father hawk clothes and other merchandise bearing slogans such as “Our House” and images of the Capitol building. A Virginia man released a rap album with riot-themed songs and a cover photograph of him sitting on a police vehicle outside the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

Those actions are sometimes complicating matters for defendants when they face judges at sentencing as prosecutors point to the profit-chasing activities in seeking tougher punishments. The Justice Department, in some instances, is trying to claw back money that rioters have made off the insurrection.

In one case, federal authorities have seized tens of thousands of dollars from a defendant who sold his footage from Jan. 6. In another case, a Florida man’s plea deal allows the U.S. government to collect profits from any book he gets published over the next five years. And prosecutors want a Maine man who raised more than $20,000 from supporters to surrender some of the money because a taxpayer-funded public defender is representing him.


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Probation for woman who wiped up blood after killing spouse

Legal Insight 2022/08/07 19:39   Bookmark and Share
A Florida woman who was acquitted of murdering her husband, a prominent official at the University of Central Florida, was sentenced Friday to a year of probation for tampering with evidence.

A judge sentenced Danielle Redlick in state court in Orlando.

Last month, a jury acquitted Danielle Redlick of second-degree murder in the death of her husband, Michael Redlick. Danielle Redlick said she had killed her husband out out of self-defense during a fight inside their home in which he had tried to “smother her to death.”

Jurors found Danielle Redlick guilty of evidence tampering for cleaning up her husband’s blood after stabbing him. Detectives found a pile of bloody towels, a bloody mop, bloody footprints and the strong smell of bleach in the house. She spent three years in jail prior to the trial.

Michael Redlick was the director of external affairs and partnership relations for the DeVos Sport Business Management Program at the University of Central Florida. He had previously worked for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Cleveland Browns and Memphis Grizzlies.

Court records showed that the Redlicks had been going through a divorce before the case was dismissed from a lack of action by Danielle Redlick, who initiated the court proceeding.

In a divorce petition, Danielle Redlick said the marriage was “irretrievably broken” and she was asking for alimony because she said she was unable to support herself without assistance. She listed herself as an unemployed photographer and multimedia professional.
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Family loses Supreme Court bid to extend boy’s life support

Legal Insight 2022/08/02 11:56   Bookmark and Share
Britain’s Supreme Court on Tuesday refused to prevent a hospital withdrawing life support from a 12-year-old boy with catastrophic brain damage, rejecting a bid by his parents to extend his treatment.

The parents of Archie Battersbee had aske Supreme Court justices to block a lower court’s ruling that the Royal London Hospital can turn off the boy’s ventilator and stop other interventions that are keeping him alive.

Archie’s treatment had been due to end at noon on Tuesday, but the hospital said it would await the decision of the Supreme Court.

Justices at the U.K.’s top court said Archie had “no prospect of any meaningful recovery,” and even with continued treatment would die in the next few weeks from organ and heart failure.

The judges agreed with a lower court that continuing treatment “serves only to protract his death.”

Archie was found unconscious at home with a ligature over his head on April 7. His parents believe he may have been taking part in an online challenge that went wrong.

Doctors believe Archie is brain-stem dead and say continued life-support treatment is not in his best interests. Several British courts have agreed.

The family appealed to the U.N. Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and wanted the withdrawal of treatment put on hold while the committee examines the case.
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