A Collaboration with the University of Pittsburgh

South Dakota to execute first prisoner under new protocols

[JURIST] South Dakota is preparing to hold its first execution in 60 years next week, AP reported Friday. The execution was halted [JURIST report] last year by Governor Mike Rounds [official website], but the passage of new lethal injection protocols [text] in February cleared up the legal concerns that led to its suspension. While the former law, written in 1984, specified a particular two-drug mixture, February's legislation is much broader, allowing the prison warden the ability to select any lethal injection [JURIST news archive] mixture, subject to the approval of the Secretary of Corrections. Rounds had feared that the state would open itself up to legal liability if it instead used the three-drug cocktail that has become the standard for lethal injections around the country, and has recently been the subject of numerous constitutional challenges [JURIST report].

With no further legal challenges expected, 25-year-old Elijah Page [SD AGO backgrounder] will be put to death for the 2000 murder of 19-year-old Chester Allen Poage. Page pleaded guilty to being one of three people who tortured Poage for over two hours before stabbing and bludgeoning him to death. Page has ended all appeals, and has asked to be put to death. His lawyer told AP that Rounds and the state Supreme Court chief justice have assured Page that the execution can be called off at any time if he wishes to restart his appeals process. AP has more.

About Paper Chase

Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

© Copyright JURIST Legal News and Research Services, Inc., 2013.