Death Penalty

Idaho Bill Seeks to Make Executions Even Less Transparent

Broadly written law could hide sources of lethal injection drugs and even the identity of an executed prisoner.


Last week, the Idaho Senate Judiciary and Rules committee decided to move ahead with legislation propsed by the state's Department of Correction, broadening its already existing death penalty confidentiality policy (designed to protect the identities of the executioner, the on-site physician, and anyone else directly involved with the execution) into state law. 

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But a slyly-worded kicker buried in the middle of the text might be the most significant aspect of the bill. Newly added to the list of confidential information is "the source of any lethal substances."

The lack of transparency regarding executions and the provenance of the drugs used in lethal injection "cocktails" has been a growing concern over the past year, following a string of gruesomely botched executions

Many states are secretive about the sources of their lethal injection drugs, in part because a boycott by European companies has led to a shortage, and accounts of prisoners writhing in excruciating pain during prolonged executions have led to questions about the quality of these substances. The GuardianAssociated Press, and several other news organizations have filed suit against the state of Missouri over this secrecy, which The Guardian says is "believed to be the first time that the first amendment right of access has been used to challenge secrecy in the application of the death penalty."

Parrish Miller of the Idaho Freedom Foundation points out another problem with the wording of the bill, "It could conceivably include the time and place where the execution is carried out, and even the identity of the person being executed."

The AP reports:

Currently, the Idaho Administrative Procedure Act — commonly called IDAPA by state lawmakers and agency officials — states that some execution records are exempt from disclosure under Idaho's Public Record law. But the public records law itself doesn't specifically state what those exemptions are, although it does give the Board of Correction authority to set rules under IDAPA.

"Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, any such confidential information shall be privileged and shall not be subject to discovery, subpoena or other means of legal compulsion," the bill reads.

Earlier this week, two Idaho lawmakers proposed legislation that would abolish the death penalty. Tonight, the state of Texas is scheduled to execute a convicted murderer, who reportedly has an IQ of 67.

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  1. The 57-year-old was sentenced to death for the 1996 murder of Vickie Ann Gardner, who was bound, beaten with a hammer, and then set on fire during the course of a robbery. Ladd had earlier been convicted of murdering his cousin and her two young children in Dallas, but was released on parole shortly before Gardner’s death.

    Assuming he’s truly guilty, I give a shit that he has an IQ of 67 because….?

    1. The IQ part should be applied to parole judges for sure. Death penalty aside, holy shit.

    2. if it’s considered beyond the pale to use capital punishment for an offense like this one, then the penalty is altogether pointless.

      As an aside, who the fuck thought it a good idea to let this guy out after he had already murdered three other people?

      1. who the fuck thought it a good idea to let this guy out after he had already murdered three other people?

        Probably someone who was swayed by the fact he has an IQ of 67. Ask yourself, would his crime have been any more gruesome if his IQ was 167? Mentioning his intelligence in reference to the justness of him being placed on death row is reflective of a mistaken belief that there is a relationship between intelligence and morality. And the fallacy works both ways; some believe that unintelligent people are more likely to give in to their baser nature and commit crimes like murder and rape. Whereas, just as many people believe the retarded are moral innocents like children.

        In a case like Ladd’s, it’s hard to argue that he didn’t comprehend the consequences of his actions considering he had already been convicted of murder before. Similarly, Gardner’s death wasn’t a crime of passion-type unpremeditated murder. He made the choice to tie her up, bludgeon her with a hammer, and then set her aflame…while in the process of robbing her. That’s not the actions of just someone who ‘snapped’ and lashed out in rage.

        1. if ever the justification for capital punishment was needed, this guy personifies it. I get that some oppose in for anyone principle and that’s fine. But long as it’s still in play, cases like this cry out for its use. I will not lose sleep if this guy is put down, and yes, put down is what his actions merit.

        2. There could be relation, just shaped like a bell curve. Morality peaks at 95 IQ or something.

          I’d say this calls for a re-calibration of IQ tests though. Killing sure, but setting someone on fire doesn’t seem like a base nature.

          1. The problem with finding if such a relation exists is that moral reasoning is, imo, devilishly hard to operationalize.

            1. Of course.

              There’s plenty of work linking increased morality with mental development, but that doesn’t really answer the question at all.

              1. I mean, maybe clever people can manipulate dumb people into doing bad things, but who manipulated Mr. 67 into committing these murders?

        3. It’s a combination of the spaghetti at the wall approach of the dp opponents which often (as here) actually works, and the assumption that dumb people can’t tell right from wrong. Is there any actual evidence of this?

    3. Allegedly, some people are too incompetent to have sufficient m ens rea to commit a capital crime, while at the same time being competent enough to stand trial.

  2. Man those state governments sure are willing to go to extraordinary lengths just to kill people.

  3. Transparent Idaho execution: drown ’em in pure Teton spring water.

  4. Just use a firing squad. Will the Europeans be able to sponsor a boycott by arms manufacturers?

  5. Leaving aside for a moment the conflict over whether there should be a death penalty at all — Pets are routinely euthanized in what seems like a pretty humane fashion. What makes it so hard to manage the same with humans?

    1. Wait until the animal-rights lawyers get in on the action.

  6. Earlier this week, two Idaho lawmakers proposed legislation . . .

    Interesting how two lawmakers from Idaho were able to introduce legislation in the Washington House.

  7. we kill dangerous animals who have IQs far less than 67. If someone cant understand that murder is forbidden or is unable to control themselves then they too are dangerous animals and must be put down. A prolonged high dose morphine drip will work just fine but take a while.
    Anyone who wants to keep such creatures alive should become responsible for them, as in Lord Jim. A prolonged high dose morphine drip will work just fine on them too, after the object of their compassion dissapoints them .

    1. All fine and dandy in theory, but that is all it ever is.

      When you have the utterly inept running the execution freeway, expect the mistakes, coverups and fabrications to hit 95% instead of the 65% they historically have been.

      When you give a drooling psychopath the authority to murder… don’t be surprised when the innocent bodies start piling up.

      Caught in the act is fine, but when DA’s are quite happy to manufacturer or just plain make up evidence to serve their execution bid, its always got a bad outcome for the innocent.

      No one ever watches over them, they do as they wish, no judge has ever been reprimanded in the history of the world. They are gods unto themselves.

  8. Must protect the psychopaths that make mistakes most of the time, couldn’t have anything resembling accountability or justice ever be present.

    Those proposing the changes should be removed from office and deported.

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