Mr. Kurtz further drives my blog cycle with this note from the Montana ACLU celebrating a judge's suspension of Montana's death penalty. Judge Jeffrey Sherlock found three problems with Montana's lethal injection protocol:
- The requirement that the warden be the person who determines whether the prisoner is unconscious before the lethal drug is administered;
- The fact that there is no requirement that the executioner have any proficiency with administering IVs;
- The protocol's three-drug process, which conflicts with the Montana's death penalty statute's two-drug process, violates the separation of powers between the executive and legislative branches.
South Dakota's death penalty protocol appears not to be imperiled by this ruling. Our state penitentiary warden must submit qualifications for the individuals chosen to administer the IVs. Qualified individuals also appear to check both unconsciousness and death.
South Dakota plans to kill two men within two months.