University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name O'Bryan v. McKaskle CJ-TX-0002
Docket / Court 84-2182 ( S.D. Tex. )
State/Territory Texas
Case Type(s) Criminal Justice (Other)
Case Summary
In 1984, Ronald Clark O'Bryan, a death-sentenced prisoner of the State of Texas, filed a lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the Texas Department of Corrections in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas. O'Bryan, who had been convicted of murdering his own son in order to ... read more >
In 1984, Ronald Clark O'Bryan, a death-sentenced prisoner of the State of Texas, filed a lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the Texas Department of Corrections in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas. O'Bryan, who had been convicted of murdering his own son in order to collect life insurance proceeds and sentenced to death by lethal injection, alleged that the defendants' use of lethal injection was illegal because the drugs used during the injection process had not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration and were therefore being used in violation of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. Specifically, he alleged that the defendants were trying to force him (through lethal injection) to become an unwilling consumer of drugs that had not been "shown to be safe and effective for their intended use," and he asked the District Court to enjoin the defendants from using these drugs during the lethal injection process.

On March 29, 1984, the District Court (Judge Robert O'Conor, Jr.) declined to grant any relief to O'Bryan, finding that his claim was insubstantial and unlikely to succeed on appeal and that he had presented no arguments that had not been already ruled on in previous appeals. O'Bryan appealed, and on the same day, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit (Judges Henry Anthony Politz and Patrick Errol Higginbotham) affirmed the District Court's decision, finding that the claims made in the complaint had already been ruled on in previous appeals and that the District Court had properly dismissed the complaint. O'Bryan v. McKaskle, 729 F.2d 991 (5th Cir. 1984).

Ronald Clark O'Bryan was executed on March 31, 1984 by lethal injection.

Kristen Sagar - 09/17/2007


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Death Penalty
Lethal Injection - General
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) Texas Department of Corrections
Plaintiff Description a death-sentenced prisoner of the State of Texas
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 1984
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
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Links Philadelphia Forfeiture
http://ij.org/case/philadelphia-forfeiture/
By: Institute for Justice (Institute for Justice)
[ Detail ]

Docket(s)
No docket sheet currently in the collection
General Documents
Opinion 03/29/1984 (729 F.2d 991)
CJ-TX-0002-0001.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Judges Higginbotham, Patrick Errol (N.D. Tex., Fifth Circuit)
CJ-TX-0002-0001
Politz, Henry Anthony (Fifth Circuit)
CJ-TX-0002-0001
Randall, Archibald (E.D. Pa.)
CJ-TX-0002-0001
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Garcia, Carolyn (Texas)
CJ-TX-0002-0001
Gray, Will (Texas)
CJ-TX-0002-0001
Presser, Stefan (Pennsylvania)
CJ-TX-0002-0001
Defendant's Lawyers Benitez, Leslie (Texas)
CJ-TX-0002-0001
Other Lawyers None on record

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