University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Brown v. Crawford CJ-MO-0002
Docket / Court 4:05-cv-00746-CEJ ( E.D. Mo. )
State/Territory Missouri
Case Type(s) Criminal Justice (Other)
Case Summary
On May 10, 2005, Vernon Brown, a death-sentenced inmate of the Eastern Missouri Reception, Diagnostic & Correctional Center in Francois County, Missouri, filed a lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the Missouri Department of Corrections in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of ... read more >
On May 10, 2005, Vernon Brown, a death-sentenced inmate of the Eastern Missouri Reception, Diagnostic & Correctional Center in Francois County, Missouri, filed a lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the Missouri Department of Corrections in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri. Brown asked the court to enjoin the defendants from using their intended lethal injection protocol in his execution, arguing that the three chemicals that they used would cause him great pain and suffering, violating his right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment. Specifically, Brown argued that the first chemical (sodium pentothal), which was intended to anesthetize him from pain, would wear off before the end of the execution, allowing him to feel the effects of the other drugs. Second, he argued that the second chemical (pancuronium bromide) would paralyze him, making it impossible for him to cry out from the pain or even to breathe. Finally, he argued that the third chemical (potassium chloride) would burn as it worked its way through his veins to his heart, causing excrutiating pain before killing him with a heart attack.

Three days after the complaint was filed, the District Court held a hearing to determine the merits of the case. At the hearing, the District Court (Judge Carol E. Jackson) refused to issue a temporary restraining order stopping the execution, holding that the plaintiff should have exhausted his administrative grievance procedures before bringing his lawsuit in the federal courts, and that the plaintiff had not presented any evidence to convince the court that he was likely to succeed on the merits of his case. The plaintiff asked the Court to reconsider this motion, arguing that the lack of evidence was due to the fact that all of the evidence was in the hands of the defendants, who would not share it with them. On May 17, 2005, the District Court (Judge Jackson) denied that motion.

The plaintiff asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit to overturn the District Court's decision, and the next day the Eighth Circuit (Judges Kermit Edward Bye, Clarence Arlen Beam, and Pasco Middleton Bowman II) denied the motion and dismissed the appeal without writing an opinion as to why.

Vernon Brown was executed by lethal injection at 2:35 a.m. on May 18, 2005. Nine days later, the defendants informed the District Court that the plaintiff had been executed, and on November 22, 2005, the District Court (Judge Jackson) dismissed the lawsuit as moot because the plaintiff had died.

Kristen Sagar - 09/06/2007


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Death Penalty
Lethal Injection - General
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) Missouri Department of Corrections
Plaintiff Description a death-sentenced inmate of the Eastern Missouri Reception, Diagnostic & Correctional Center in Bonne Terre, St. Francois County, Missouri
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Defendant
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief None
Source of Relief None
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year 2005
Case Ongoing No
Docket(s)
4:05-cv-00746-CEJ (E.D. Mo.) 11/22/2005
CJ-MO-0002-9000 PDF | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Verified Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief 05/10/2005
CJ-MO-0002-0001 PDF | Detail
Memorandum of Law in Support of Complaint 05/10/2005
CJ-MO-0002-0002 PDF | Detail
Motion to Dismiss/Suggestions in Opposition to Motion for Temporary Restraining Order 05/13/2005
CJ-MO-0002-0003 PDF | Detail
Transcript of the Temporary Restraining Order Hearing 05/13/2005
CJ-MO-0002-0004 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum in Support of Motion to Set Aside Oral Denial of Temporary Restraining Order 05/16/2005
CJ-MO-0002-0005 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [re: Temporary Restraining Order] 05/17/2005 (E.D. Mo.)
CJ-MO-0002-0006 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
USCA Order 05/17/2005 (408 F.3d 1027)
CJ-MO-0002-0009 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Suggestion of Death Upon the Record 05/27/2005
CJ-MO-0002-0008 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [Granting Suggestion of Death Motion] 11/22/2005 (E.D. Mo.)
CJ-MO-0002-0010 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Beam, Clarence Arlen (Eighth Circuit, D. Neb.)
CJ-MO-0002-0009
Bowman, Pasco Middleton II (Eighth Circuit)
CJ-MO-0002-0009
Bye, Kermit Edward (Eighth Circuit)
CJ-MO-0002-0009
Jackson, Carol E. (E.D. Mo.) [Magistrate]
CJ-MO-0002-0004 | CJ-MO-0002-0006 | CJ-MO-0002-0010 | CJ-MO-0002-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Simon , John William (Missouri)
CJ-MO-0002-0001 | CJ-MO-0002-0002 | CJ-MO-0002-0004 | CJ-MO-0002-0005 | CJ-MO-0002-9000
Sindel, Richard H. (Missouri)
CJ-MO-0002-0001 | CJ-MO-0002-0002 | CJ-MO-0002-0005
Defendant's Lawyers Hassell, Andrew W. (Missouri)
CJ-MO-0002-9000
Hawke, Stephen David (Missouri)
CJ-MO-0002-0003 | CJ-MO-0002-0004 | CJ-MO-0002-0008 | CJ-MO-0002-9000
McElvein, Denise (Missouri)
CJ-MO-0002-0004
Nixon, Jeremiah (Jay) W. (Missouri)
CJ-MO-0002-0003 | CJ-MO-0002-0008
Thompson, Bill L. (Missouri)
CJ-MO-0002-9000
Other Lawyers None on record

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