Wednesday, June 1, 2011

R.I.P. Donald Beaty

Roman Colosseum lit to protest an execution
On May 25, 2011, Arizona executed Donald Beaty, who had been convicted and sentenced to death for the 1984 murder of 13-year-old Christy Ann Fornoff.  The execution was  temporarily delayed by legal challenges after the Arizona Department of Corrections' hastily substituted pentobarbital for sodium thiopental in the state's execution-drug formula.  State officials did so after the Department of Justice advised them not to use its supply of sodium thiopental which it had illegally obtained from a foreign source.

"Arizona's eleventh-hour switch to another execution drug is unconscionable," stated Natasha Minsker, Death Penalty Policy Director at the ACLU of Northern California. "Rather than rushing to change the rules to carry out an execution, we all should be asking why state and federal officials failed for months to follow or enforce the law. The DEA and the Arizona Department of Corrections have known for months that Arizona possessed illegal sodium thiopental. Yet, they waited until hours before a scheduled execution to act, and then only because the illegal conduct was brought into the light of day by lawsuits and public pressure. A death penalty in any state that disregards both federal law and basic concepts of fairness makes a mockery of justice in our whole country."

This was the 19th execution in the United States in 2011, the second in Arizona.


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