On December 29, 2006, a death-sentenced inmate at the Indiana State Prison filed a lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the Indiana Department of Corrections in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana. The plaintiff alleged that his constitutional rights were threatened by the defendants' use of thiopental, potassium chloride, and pancuronium bromide during lethal injection, which he believed would allow him to be conscious and subject to extreme pain and torture in violation of this Eighth Amendment right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment.
On April 10, 2007, the District Court allowed two other death-sentenced inmates, Michael Lambert and David Leon Woods, to intervene in the case. Woods applied for a preliminary injunction, and on April 26, 2007, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana (Judge Richard L. Young) denied Woods' motion for injunctive relief. The court reasoned that Woods had failed to demonstrate that Indiana's lethal injection method violated the Eighth Amendment, and that the last minute nature of his claims strongly counseled against granting him relief, indicating rather that he brought the claims merely to delay the execution. Woods was executed on May 4, 2007, and he was dismissed as a party to the case on June 8, 2007, because the action as to him had become moot.
On May 18, 2007, the action was set for trial on September 22, 2007. Three days later, the Indiana Supreme Court set a June 15, 2007 date for Lambert's execution. Lambert filed a motion for preliminary injunction, and on June 12, 2007, the District Court (Judge Young) denied Lambert's motion for injunctive relief for the same reasons that it had denied Woods' motion - that he had not shown any likelihood of success on the merits and that he had brought the claim merely to delay the inevitable execution. Lambert appealed this decision, and on July 9, 2007, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit affirmed the District Court's decision. On July 12, 2007, Lambert was dismissed as a party to the lawsuit.
The defendants asked the court for summary judgment in their case against Norman Timberlake, and on August 16, 2007, the District Court (Judge Young) granted them summary judgment and vacated the earlier scheduled trial date. The court reasoned that since they had already twice found (in the cases of Mr. Woods and Mr. Lambert) that Indiana's execution protocol did not violate the rights of the executed prisoner, Mr. Timberlake had not established a genuine issue as to whether the state's execution protocol created a significant or unnecessary risk that he would suffer unnecessary pain during the execution process, therefore making summary judgment appropriate.
Our Pacer docket, which is accurate as of August 31, 2007, ends here and labels the case as closed.Kristen Sagar - 08/31/2007