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Monday, January 21, 2008

Wonder Why Missouri Wants to Keep Executioners Secret?

I'm beginning to understand the urgent need for secrecy here. As is so often the case, it is a convenient excuse for masking incompetence, corruption, heck, even criminal records...

Before a Missouri executioner could go to Indiana in 2001 to help federal authorities put mass killer Timothy McVeigh to death, he had to take care of one detail:

He needed permission from his probation officer to leave the state.

The request, by a licensed practical nurse from Farmington, set off alarms within the Missouri Division of Probation and Parole. At least one supervisor spoke out to an agency administrator.

"As I stated to you previously, it seems bizarre to me that we would knowingly allow an offender, on active supervision, to participate in the execution process at any level," she wrote.

Then again, bizarre is an understatement, as this graf shows:

In Missouri, a federal judge suspended the state's executions in 2006 after Doerhoff's testimony — from behind a screen to protect his identity — that he was dyslexic, did not record the actual amount of anesthetic delivered, sometimes used only half the suggested dose and gauged the depth of the anesthesia by watching facial expressions through a window.

But my favorite is the end:

The Missouri probation and parole administrator who confirmed Pinkley's request for travel obviously recognized the potential for controversy.

In one of the memos, she wrote, "It would be extremely problematic for David Pinkley and this department if the media got wind of this."

You think? Read the whole thing here, including the Post-Dispatch's wonderful explanation of why they are naming names...

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