University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name White v. Johnson CJ-TX-0004
Docket / Court 4:05-cv-03648 ( S.D. Tex. )
State/Territory Texas
Case Type(s) Criminal Justice (Other)
Case Summary
On October 24, 2005, Melvin Wayne White, a death-sentenced inmate in the Huntsville Prison in Livingston 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. White complained to the Court that the ... read more >
On October 24, 2005, Melvin Wayne White, a death-sentenced inmate in the Huntsville Prison in Livingston 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. White complained to the Court that the defendants' lethal injection protocol was unconstitutional, arguing that the executed was not properly anesthetized, allowing him to feel the excrutiating pain caused by the potassium chloride injection. He also argued that the use of the paralytic agent pancuronium bromide was arbitrary and unreasonable because it risked the infliction of torture, causing the executed to suffocate due to the inability to use his lungs. In addition, he argued that the defendants would need to use a painful cut-down procedure for placement of the IV's required for lethal injection due to the fact that his veins were damaged from illicit drug use. White asked the Court to enjoin the defendants from using their lethal injection protocol during his execution, and to stay his execution while this case was pending.

On the next day, the District Court (Judge Kenneth M. Hoyt) dismissed the complaint, reasoning that White had unreasonably delayed bringing the complaint, and that it was not distinguishable in any significant way from the facts in Harris v. Johnson (CJ-TX-3), a case in which the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit had denied the complaint. White appealed, and on November 1, 2005, the Fifth Circuit (Judges Edith Hollan Jones, Fortunato Pedro Benavides, and Edith Brown Clement) issued a per curiam opinion affirming the District Court's decision, agreeing with the District Court that White had unreasonably delayed his complaint.

On November 3, Melvin Wayne White was executed 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 Yes
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-03648 (S.D. Tex.) 11/09/2005
CJ-TX-0004-9000 PDF | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Plaintiff's Original Complaint 10/24/2005
CJ-TX-0004-0001 PDF | Detail
Plaintiff's Memorandum of Law in Support of Complaint 10/24/2005
CJ-TX-0004-0002 PDF | Detail
Memorandum and Order [Dismissing Complaint] 10/25/2005 (S.D. Tex.)
CJ-TX-0004-0003 PDF | Detail
Final Judgment 10/25/2005 (S.D. Tex.)
CJ-TX-0004-0004 PDF | Detail
Per Curiam Opinion 11/01/2005 (429 F.3d 572)
CJ-TX-0004-0005 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Judges Benavides, Fortunato Pedro (Fifth Circuit)
CJ-TX-0004-0005
Clements, Gary Court not on record
CJ-TX-0004-0005
Hoyt, Kenneth M. (S.D. Tex.)
CJ-TX-0004-0003 | CJ-TX-0004-0004 | CJ-TX-0004-9000
Jones, Edith Hollan (Fifth Circuit)
CJ-TX-0004-0005
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Dow, David R (Texas)
CJ-TX-0004-0001 | CJ-TX-0004-0002 | CJ-TX-0004-9000
Tyler, Jared Philip (Texas)
CJ-TX-0004-0001 | CJ-TX-0004-0002
Defendant's Lawyers Bunn, Gena Blount (Texas)
CJ-TX-0004-9000
Other Lawyers None on record

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