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Case Name Johnston v. Roper CJ-MO-0003
Docket / Court 4:04-cv-01075-CAS ( E.D. Mo. )
State/Territory Missouri
Case Type(s) Criminal Justice (Other)
Case Summary
On August 16, 2004, Timothy Johnston, a death-sentenced inmate of the Potosi Correctional Center in Mineral Point, 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. Johnston claimed that ... read more >
On August 16, 2004, Timothy Johnston, a death-sentenced inmate of the Potosi Correctional Center in Mineral Point, 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. Johnston claimed that the defendants were planning to violate his rights by subjecting him to an unnecessary risk of unconstitutional pain and suffering. He claimed that the defendants intended to execute him with drugs that "veterinarians would not use for the euthanasia of cats and dogs," casting a "chemical veil over the excrutiatingly painful effects of death by suffocation and heart attack" and using an "unreliable anesthetic" that would leave him "conscious but trapped in a paralyzed body racked with pain, suffocation, and heart attack." He also claimed that the defendants planned to use "inadequately trained personnel, who use inappropriate equipment and arbitrary drugs and methods" during the lethal injection process. The plaintiff asked the District Court to permanently enjoin the defendants from executing him by the intended means and to declare that the defendants' current method for conducting executions by lethal injection violates the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution.

The defendants asked the court to dismiss the claims, arguing that the plaintiff should have raised these claims during his earlier habeas corpus petition. On June 13, 2005, the District Court (Judge Donald J. Stohr) denied their motion to dismiss, finding that this was a separate claim, and that the plaintiff did not have to raise these concerns during his earlier petition.

The plaintiff asked the District Court to force the defendants to submit a list of the names of the individuals who would conduct his execution, arguing that the information was necessary in order to allow him to assess their credentials. The District Court ordered the defendants to produce the names, and on August 15, 2005, the defendants filed a petition for immediate writ of prohibition with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, asking the court to overturn the District Court's order. The defendants argued that if the names were made public, the named individuals would be at great risk of harassment and possibly even physical harm. On August 24, 2005, the Eighth Circuit denied the defendants' request without writing an opinion as to why. The defendants asked them to re-hear the case en banc, and the Eighth Circuit refused.

On August 16, 2005, the defendants asked the District Court for summary judgment, arguing that the plaintiff had not presented evidence of any violation of his rights. Two days later, the plaintiff asked the Court to stay his execution, which was scheduled for August 31, 2005, and to issue a temporary restraining order enjoining the defendants from performing any executions under their existing lethal injection procedures. On August 26, 2005, the District Court (Charles A. Shaw) denied the plaintiff's requests and granted the defendants' motion for summary judgment, finding that the plaintiff had not established any violation of his rights.

The plaintiff appealed, and four days later, the Eighth Circuit (Judges Kermit E. Bye, Gerald W. Heaney, and Pasco M. Bowman) granted him a stay of execution until September 8, 2005, at 12:01 a.m. The defendants asked for an en banc re-hearing of the decision, and on the same day, the case was re-heard by an en banc panel. The en banc panel vacated the stay of execution, and the plaintiff asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review the decision. On the same day, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to delay the execution.

Timothy Johnston was executed by lethal injection at 12:07 a.m. on August 31, 2005.

Kristen Sagar - 09/07/2007


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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 Potosi Correctional Center in Mineral Point, 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)
05-3353 (U.S. Court of Appeals) 09/01/2005
CJ-MO-0003-9001 PDF | Detail
4:04-cv-01075-CAS (E.D. Mo.) 09/06/2005
CJ-MO-0003-9000 PDF | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Plaintiff's Original Complaint 08/16/2004
CJ-MO-0003-0001 PDF | Detail
Defendants Kempker, Roper, and Purkett's Motion to Dismiss 11/15/2004
CJ-MO-0003-0002 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum in Support of Defendant's Motion to Dismiss 11/15/2004
CJ-MO-0003-0003 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Motion for Substitution of Party under Fed.R.Civ.P.25(d) 04/28/2005
CJ-MO-0003-0004 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order 06/13/2005 (2005 WL 1474022 / 2005 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 45093) (E.D. Mo.)
CJ-MO-0003-0005 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Defendants' Answer to Plaintiff's Complaint 06/30/2005
CJ-MO-0003-0006 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Petition for Immediate Writ of Prohibition 08/15/2005
CJ-MO-0003-0008 PDF | Detail
Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment 08/16/2005
CJ-MO-0003-0007 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Answer to Petition for Immediate Writ of Prohibition 08/17/2005
CJ-MO-0003-0009 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Motion for Temporary Restraining Order and Preliminary Injunction 08/18/2005
CJ-MO-0003-0010 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum of Law in Support of Plaintiff's Motion for Temporary Restraining Order and Preliminary Injunction 08/18/2005
CJ-MO-0003-0011 PDF | Detail
Judgment [re: Petition for Writ of Prohibition] 08/24/2005
CJ-MO-0003-0012 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Denial of Petition for Rehearing and for Rehearing En Banc 08/25/2005
CJ-MO-0003-0013 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum and Order 08/26/2005 (2005 WL 6119881) (E.D. Mo.)
CJ-MO-0003-0014 PDF | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Transcript of Temporary Restraining Order 08/26/2005
CJ-MO-0003-0015 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Second Amended Order [re: Petition for Rehearing] 09/01/2005 (421 F.3d 1152)
CJ-MO-0003-0016 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Judges Arnold, Morris Sheppard (Eighth Circuit, W.D. Ark.)
CJ-MO-0003-0016
Bye, Kermit Edward (Eighth Circuit)
CJ-MO-0003-0016
Colloton, Steven M. (Eighth Circuit)
CJ-MO-0003-0016
Gruender, Raymond W. (Eighth Circuit)
CJ-MO-0003-0016
Loken, James B. (Eighth Circuit)
CJ-MO-0003-0016
Melloy, Michael Joseph (Eighth Circuit, N.D. Iowa)
CJ-MO-0003-0016
Murphy, Diana E. (Eighth Circuit, D. Minn.)
CJ-MO-0003-0016
Riley, William Jay (Eighth Circuit)
CJ-MO-0003-0016
Shaw, Charles Alexander (E.D. Mo.)
CJ-MO-0003-0014 | CJ-MO-0003-9000 | CJ-MO-0003-9001
Smith, Lavenski R. (Eighth Circuit)
CJ-MO-0003-0016
Stohr, Donald J. (E.D. Mo.)
CJ-MO-0003-0005 | CJ-MO-0003-0012 | CJ-MO-0003-0013
Wollman, Roger Leland (Eighth Circuit)
CJ-MO-0003-0016
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Gorla, Michael J. (Missouri)
CJ-MO-0003-0001 | CJ-MO-0003-0004 | CJ-MO-0003-0009 | CJ-MO-0003-0010 | CJ-MO-0003-0011 | CJ-MO-0003-0012 | CJ-MO-0003-0013 | CJ-MO-0003-0015 | CJ-MO-0003-0016 | CJ-MO-0003-9000
McGraugh, Christopher E. (Missouri)
CJ-MO-0003-0001 | CJ-MO-0003-0004 | CJ-MO-0003-0009 | CJ-MO-0003-0010 | CJ-MO-0003-0011 | CJ-MO-0003-0012 | CJ-MO-0003-0013 | CJ-MO-0003-0015 | CJ-MO-0003-0016 | CJ-MO-0003-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Hawke, Stephen David (Missouri)
CJ-MO-0003-0002 | CJ-MO-0003-0003 | CJ-MO-0003-0006 | CJ-MO-0003-0007 | CJ-MO-0003-0009 | CJ-MO-0003-9000
McElvein, Denise (Missouri)
CJ-MO-0003-0002 | CJ-MO-0003-0003 | CJ-MO-0003-0006 | CJ-MO-0003-0007 | CJ-MO-0003-0008 | CJ-MO-0003-0009 | CJ-MO-0003-0012 | CJ-MO-0003-0013 | CJ-MO-0003-0015 | CJ-MO-0003-0016 | CJ-MO-0003-9000
Nixon, Jeremiah (Jay) W. (Missouri)
CJ-MO-0003-0002 | CJ-MO-0003-0003 | CJ-MO-0003-0006 | CJ-MO-0003-0007 | CJ-MO-0003-0008 | CJ-MO-0003-0009
Vasterling, Gail (Missouri)
CJ-MO-0003-0008
Other Lawyers None on record

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