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9th Circuit rejects Rhoades’ appeal for stay of execution

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals tonight rejected Paul Ezra Rhoades' last-minute bid for a stay of execution on grounds that Idaho's lethal injection method, if improperly administered, could cause him severe pain; a three-judge panel of the federal appeals court issued its decision the same day the state filed its response to Rhoades' 9th Circuit appeal, clearing the way for his scheduled execution on Friday.

“Death penalty cases are wrenchingly difficult to assess because of the superordinately high stakes for the prisoner whose execution is scheduled and for society which plans to take the prisoner’s life as a sanction for the murder of one or more of its citizens,” the appeals court wrote. “But the key rules that govern this appeal have already been set. The Supreme Court has approved of the death penalty as a continuing option for states that choose to invoke this supreme punishment. … Many, but not all, states have chosen to maintain the death penalty, including Idaho.”

The panel found that Rhoades didn't prove that the medical team that would be administering his lethal injection was unqualified or likely to botch it; instead, they wrote, each member of the team has at least 15 years professional experience, and the team leader is an experienced registered nurse. You can read the 9th Circuit decision here.


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Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.

Named best state-based political blog in Idaho for 2013 by The Fix

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