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 ...
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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