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Case Name Taylor v. Crawford CJ-MO-0001
Docket / Court 2:05-cv-04173-FJG ( W.D. Mo. )
State/Territory Missouri
Case Type(s) Criminal Justice (Other)
Case Summary
On July 28, 2005, Michael Anthony Taylor, a death-sentenced inmate of the Potosi Correctional Center in Washington 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 Western District of Missouri. He claimed ... read more >
On July 28, 2005, Michael Anthony Taylor, a death-sentenced inmate of the Potosi Correctional Center in Washington 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 Western District of Missouri. He claimed that there was a 43% chance that the defendants' planned lethal injection procedure would torture him and cause him unnecessary pain. He argued that this violated his Eighth Amendment right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment. He also argued that the infliction of the death penalty, and specifically the use of a form of execution more painful than necessary to bring about the death involved, violated the Thirteenth Amendment because it was a relict, vestige, and badge of slavery. Specifically, he was concerned that that the use of the femoral vein for the administration of the lethal injection would require a painful "cut-down" procedure, and that the anesthetic used (thiopental) would wear off too soon, allowing him to be conscious during the administration of potassium chloride, which causes a painful burning sensation throughout the body. In addition, the plaintiff argued that the Missouri physicians who were involved in administering the lethal injections were violating their ethical obligations.

The defendants asked the court to dismiss the case, claiming that the plaintiff had to exhaust his administrative remedies before bringing the case in District Court. On December 28, 2005, the District Court (Judge Scott O. Wright) denied their request, finding that the plaintiff did not have to exhaust his administrative remedies because if the defendants had wanted to change the method of execution due to the pain it inflicted, they would have already done so.

On January 18, 2006, the plaintiff asked the District Court to order the defendants not to execute him until the court had held a hearing and decided how to resolve the issues in the case. The next day, the District Court (Judge Wright) granted his request and ordered the defendants not to execute the plaintiff until the court told them that they could do so. The defendants appealed. On January 29, 2006, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit (Judges William J. Riley, Clarence Arlen Beam, and David Rasmussen Hansen) vacated the stay and ordered the District Court to hold a hearing before noon on February 1, 2006. They also held that the execution should be stayed until midnight on February 3, 2006.

According to the Eighth Circuit's order, the District Court held a hearing to decide the merits of the case on January 31, 2006. After the hearing, Court (Judge Fernando J. Gaitan, Jr.) found that neither the chemicals used by the State of Missouri for lethal injection nor the procedure employed to administer these injections constituted cruel and unusual punishment. The Court reasoned that while the plaintiff suggested a different approach to lethal injection, he did not prove that the current method used by Missouri violated the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution. The Court also said that it was not persuaded that the use of the femoral vein for the administration of the lethal injection violated applicable standards of the Eighth Amendment, and it did not believe that the Missouri physicians who were involved in administering the lethal injections were violating their ethical obligations. Finally, the Court said that the lethal injection procedure did not violate the Thirteenth Amendment's prohibition of slavery. The plaintiff appealed.

On April 27, 2006, the Eighth Circuit (Judges Riley, Beam, and Hansen) issued a per curiam opinion vacating the District Court's decision and remanding the case so that the lower court could hold a more thorough hearing and expand the record. The Eighth Circuit decided to do this because they felt that the time constraints that they had imposed on the lower court had been unreasonable, and they wished to allow the parties more time to present their cases. Taylor v. Crawford, 445 F.3d 1095 (8th Cir. 2006).

After holding a more extensive hearing, the District Court ruled on June 26, 2006, amended its earlier decision, ordering the defendants to prepare a written protocol for lethal injections that included the following changes: 1) a board certified anesthesiologist must be responsible for the mixing and administering of all drugs used during the lethal injection, 2) at least 5 grams of thiopental must be administered and the anesthesiologist must certify that the thiopental has rendered the plaintiff unconscious, 3) the state must purchase any equipment necessary to allow the anesthesiologist to monitor the depth of the anesthetic, in order to insure that the plaintiff will not feel any pain, 4) the state must have a contingency plan in place in case problems develop during the execution procedure, 5) an auditing process must be in place to ensure that all individuals involved in the lethal injection process are correctly following the protocol, and 6) after the Court approves the lethal injection protocol, it must not be changed without the prior approval of the Court. The District Court then sent this ruling up to the Eighth Circuit for their consideration and approval. Taylor v. Crawford, 2006 WL 1779035 (W.D.Mo. June 26, 2006).

On July 24, 2006, the defendants filed a revised protocol for use in carrying out Taylor's death sentence in the District Court, and the Eighth Circuit remanded their jurisdiction back to the lower court so that the new protocol could be considered. On September 12, 2006, the District Court (Judge Gaitan) rejected the defendants' revised protocol, saying that even though it was an improvement, it was not enough to meet the standards of the Constitution because it lacked a provision for purchase of equipment that allows monitoring of anesthetic depth. The Court ordered the defendants to submit a revised protocol to the Court by October 27, 2006.

The defendants asked the District Court to reconsider their rejection of the revised protocol, and on October 16, 2006, the District Court (Judge Gaitan) refused to reconsider the decision. The defendants appealed that refusal, and on June 4, 2007, the Eighth Circuit reversed the District Court's decision, holding that the defendants' proposed revisions of the protocol were sufficient to get rid of any Constitutional problems. They also vacated the District Court's injunction that had forbidden the defendants from executing the plaintiff. The plaintiff asked the Eighth Circuit to rehear the case en banc, and on August 8, 2007, the Eighth Circuit declined to do so. The plaintiff filed a writ of certiorari in the U.S. Supreme Court, but the Supreme Court declined to hear the case.

Kristen Sagar - 10/02/2008


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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) Missouri Department of Corrections
Plaintiff Description a death-sentenced inmate of the Potosi Correctional Center in Washington County, Missouri
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought None on record
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Mixed
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Litigation
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration 2006 - 2007
Case Closing Year 2007
Case Ongoing No
Docket(s)
(W.D. Mo.) 04/25/2008
CJ-MO-0001-9000 PDF | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Verified Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief 06/03/2005
CJ-MO-0001-0030 PDF | Detail
First Amended Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief 09/12/2005
CJ-MO-0001-0031 PDF | Detail
Order [Denying Defendants' Motion to Dismiss] 12/28/2005 (W.D. Mo.)
CJ-MO-0001-0033 PDF | Detail
Application to Vacate Stay of Execution 01/01/2006
CJ-MO-0001-0001 PDF | Detail
Order [Granting Defendant's Motion to Vacate Preliminary Injunction] 01/29/2006
CJ-MO-0001-0034 PDF | Detail
Supplemental Suggestions in Opposition to Application to Vacate Stay of Execution 01/31/2006
CJ-MO-0001-0002 PDF | Detail
Order [Granting Motion to Intervene] 01/31/2006 (W.D. Mo.)
CJ-MO-0001-0003 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Application to Vacate Stay of Execution 01/31/2006
CJ-MO-0001-0004 PDF | Detail
Declaration of Srikumaran (Sri) K. Melethil, Ph.d., J.D. 02/01/2006
CJ-MO-0001-0005 PDF | Detail
Brief of Appellant 02/01/2006
CJ-MO-0001-0006 PDF | Detail
Appellee's Suggestions in Opposition to Application for Stay and Suggestions in Support of Summary Affirmance 02/01/2006
CJ-MO-0001-0007 PDF | Detail
Petition for Rehearing with Suggestion for Rehearing en banc 02/01/2006
CJ-MO-0001-0008 PDF | Detail
Supplemental Suggestions in Support of Application for Stay of Execution 02/01/2006
CJ-MO-0001-0009 PDF | Detail
Application to Vacate Stay of Execution 02/01/2006
CJ-MO-0001-0010 PDF | Detail
Brief of Appellees/Defendants 02/06/2006
CJ-MO-0001-0029 PDF | Detail
Per Curiam 04/27/2006 (445 F.3d 1095)
CJ-MO-0001-0035 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Order 05/02/2006 (2006 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 25346) (W.D. Mo.)
CJ-MO-0001-0011 PDF | LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Motion for Reconsideration Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 60 05/02/2006
CJ-MO-0001-0012 PDF | Detail
Order [re: Motion for Reconsideration] 05/05/2006 (2006 WL 1236660 / 2006 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 30882) (W.D. Mo.)
CJ-MO-0001-0036 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Order [re: Motion to Reconsider] 05/30/2006 (2006 WL 1522679) (W.D. Mo.)
CJ-MO-0001-0037 PDF | WESTLAW | Detail
Order [re: Motion to Reconsider Limitations] 06/02/2006 (2006 WL 1616179) (W.D. Mo.)
CJ-MO-0001-0038 PDF | WESTLAW | Detail
Transcription of Testimony of John Doe No. 1 06/05/2006
CJ-MO-0001-0014 PDF | Detail
Transcript of Bench Trial Proceedings 06/13/2006
CJ-MO-0001-0013 PDF | Detail
Order 06/26/2006 (2006 WL 1779035) (W.D. Mo.)
CJ-MO-0001-0015 PDF | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Defendant Correctional Officials' Submission of Proposed Execution Protocol 07/14/2006
CJ-MO-0001-0016 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Plaintiff's Opposition to Defendants' Proposed Protocol 07/24/2006
CJ-MO-0001-0017 PDF | Detail
Order [re: State's Proposed Protocol] 07/25/2006 (W.D. Mo.)
CJ-MO-0001-0018 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
USCA Remand Order 08/09/2006 (457 F.3d 902)
CJ-MO-0001-0019 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Order [Granting Motion to Withdraw and Denying Motion to Appoint Replacement Counsel] 09/12/2006 (W.D. Mo.)
CJ-MO-0001-0020 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Defendant Correctional Officials' Response to Court Order of September 12, 2006 10/06/2006
CJ-MO-0001-0021 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Plaintiff's Opposition to the State's Response to Court Order of September 12, 2006 10/12/2006
CJ-MO-0001-0022 PDF | Detail
Order [Denying State's Motion to Reconsider] 10/16/2006 (W.D. Mo.)
CJ-MO-0001-0023 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Application for Stay of Execution 12/01/2006
CJ-MO-0001-0024 PDF | Detail
Brief of Appellants 12/04/2006
CJ-MO-0001-0025 PDF | Detail
Brief of Plaintiff-Appellee 01/02/2007
CJ-MO-0001-0026 PDF | Detail
Reply Brief of Appellants 01/08/2007
CJ-MO-0001-0027 PDF | Detail
USCA Opinion 06/04/2007 (487 F.3d 1072)
CJ-MO-0001-0028 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Order [Denying Petition for Rehearing en banc] 08/07/2007
CJ-MO-0001-0032 PDF | Detail
Judges Beam, Clarence Arlen (Eighth Circuit, D. Neb.)
CJ-MO-0001-0019 | CJ-MO-0001-0028 | CJ-MO-0001-0034 | CJ-MO-0001-0035
Gaitan, Fernando J. Jr. (W.D. Mo.)
CJ-MO-0001-0003 | CJ-MO-0001-0011 | CJ-MO-0001-0013 | CJ-MO-0001-0014 | CJ-MO-0001-0015 | CJ-MO-0001-0018 | CJ-MO-0001-0020 | CJ-MO-0001-0023 | CJ-MO-0001-0036 | CJ-MO-0001-0037 | CJ-MO-0001-0038 | CJ-MO-0001-9000
Hansen, David Rasmussen (Eighth Circuit, N.D. Iowa)
CJ-MO-0001-0019 | CJ-MO-0001-0028 | CJ-MO-0001-0034 | CJ-MO-0001-0035
Knox, William A. (W.D. Mo.) [Magistrate]
CJ-MO-0001-9000
Riley, William Jay (Eighth Circuit)
CJ-MO-0001-0019 | CJ-MO-0001-0028 | CJ-MO-0001-0034 | CJ-MO-0001-0035
Wright, Scott Olin (W.D. Mo.)
CJ-MO-0001-0033
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Anders, Ginger (District of Columbia)
CJ-MO-0001-0013 | CJ-MO-0001-0014 | CJ-MO-0001-0017 | CJ-MO-0001-0022 | CJ-MO-0001-0026 | CJ-MO-0001-0036 | CJ-MO-0001-0037 | CJ-MO-0001-9000
Arnold , Mark G. (Missouri)
CJ-MO-0001-9000
Berger , Eric (District of Columbia)
CJ-MO-0001-0012 | CJ-MO-0001-0013 | CJ-MO-0001-0017 | CJ-MO-0001-0022 | CJ-MO-0001-0026 | CJ-MO-0001-0036 | CJ-MO-0001-9000
Carlyle , Elizabeth Unger (Mississippi)
CJ-MO-0001-0031 | CJ-MO-0001-9000
Hellman , Matthew S. (District of Columbia)
CJ-MO-0001-0012 | CJ-MO-0001-0013 | CJ-MO-0001-0017 | CJ-MO-0001-0022 | CJ-MO-0001-0026 | CJ-MO-0001-0036 | CJ-MO-0001-0037 | CJ-MO-0001-9000
Herndon , Jennifer (Missouri)
CJ-MO-0001-9000
Petruska , Lynette M. (Missouri)
CJ-MO-0001-0026 | CJ-MO-0001-9000
Pleban, C. John (Missouri)
CJ-MO-0001-0026 | CJ-MO-0001-9000
Simon , John William (Missouri)
CJ-MO-0001-0002 | CJ-MO-0001-0006 | CJ-MO-0001-0008 | CJ-MO-0001-0009 | CJ-MO-0001-0012 | CJ-MO-0001-0013 | CJ-MO-0001-0017 | CJ-MO-0001-0022 | CJ-MO-0001-0024 | CJ-MO-0001-0030 | CJ-MO-0001-0031 | CJ-MO-0001-0036 | CJ-MO-0001-0037 | CJ-MO-0001-9000
Verrilli, Donald B. Jr. (District of Columbia)
CJ-MO-0001-0012 | CJ-MO-0001-0017 | CJ-MO-0001-0022 | CJ-MO-0001-0026 | CJ-MO-0001-0035 | CJ-MO-0001-0036 | CJ-MO-0001-0037 | CJ-MO-0001-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Hawke, Stephen David (Missouri)
CJ-MO-0001-0001 | CJ-MO-0001-0004 | CJ-MO-0001-0007 | CJ-MO-0001-0010 | CJ-MO-0001-0013 | CJ-MO-0001-0016 | CJ-MO-0001-0021 | CJ-MO-0001-0025 | CJ-MO-0001-0027 | CJ-MO-0001-0029
Layton, James R. (Missouri)
CJ-MO-0001-0035
Nixon, Jeremiah (Jay) W. (Missouri)
CJ-MO-0001-0001 | CJ-MO-0001-0004 | CJ-MO-0001-0007 | CJ-MO-0001-0010 | CJ-MO-0001-0016 | CJ-MO-0001-0021 | CJ-MO-0001-0025 | CJ-MO-0001-0027
Pritchett, Michael (Missouri)
CJ-MO-0001-0001 | CJ-MO-0001-0004 | CJ-MO-0001-0007 | CJ-MO-0001-0010 | CJ-MO-0001-0013 | CJ-MO-0001-0014 | CJ-MO-0001-0016 | CJ-MO-0001-0021 | CJ-MO-0001-0025 | CJ-MO-0001-0027 | CJ-MO-0001-0029 | CJ-MO-0001-0036 | CJ-MO-0001-0037 | CJ-MO-0001-9000
Other Lawyers None on record

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