Missouri Executioner Had a Criminal Past

We've written before about the problems in Missouri with executioners -- most notably, the dyslexic doctor who administered the fatal cocktail.

Now, the New York Times recaps last week's St. Louis Post Dispatch article about a nurse on the state's execution team who had a criminal record and was on probation:

Before a Missouri executioner could go to Indiana in 2001 to help federal authorities put mass killer Timothy McVeigh to death, he had to take care of one detail:

He needed permission from his probation officer to leave the state.

The Post-Dispatch named the nurse, even though a state law was passed after the dyslexic doctor was identified prohibiting disclosure. The paper explains why it is naming the nurse: [More...]

In the accompanying article, we reveal that a licensed practical nurse from Farmington who has been involved in lethal-injection executions of death-row inmates in the Missouri and the federal prison systems has his own criminal history.

We reveal that state and federal officials were aware of that history and, in 2001, gave special permission for the nurse, who was under probation restrictions, to continue on their execution teams and even travel to Indiana for the execution of Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh. We also reveal the name of the nurse.

We do so knowing the state of Missouri seeks to protect the identity of its executioners. We do so because we believe the public benefit of lifting this cloak of secrecy outweighs privacy concerns. We strongly believe that how the state and federal governments handled this situation provides valuable insight for the public into a secretive execution process at the center of a controversial national debate — and a much-watched U.S. Supreme Court case.

UPI names the nurse as well.

The NY Times article reports that the lawyers for five death row inmates have filed requests with the court for disclosure of the names of all execution team members.

As to the nurse, the Times reports:

The nurse was charged in 1998 with felonies for allegedly stalking and damaging the property of a man who had a relationship with his estranged wife.

He pleaded no contest to misdemeanors and received a suspended imposition of sentence. That cleared his record once he served two years of probation. A check of the nurse's license record showed no discipline.

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    i find it interesting, that (none / 0) (#1)
    by cpinva on Sun Jan 20, 2008 at 11:45:39 PM EST
    the united states seems to be alone, in keeping the names of those participating in executions secret. in saudi arabia, the executioner is almost a celebrity, everyone knows who he is; newspaper articles have been written about him.

    executions there are carried out in public, behind the mosque, on friday afternoons, and the public is encouraged to attend. the death penalty there is about as effective in detering other criminals as it is in the united states, which is to say, not very. however, to their credit, at least they're up front about it.

    if missouri truly believes in the death penalty's efficacy, then making the names of those on the execution team public would seem to be a given. after all, the citizen's of missouri demand it, don't they?

    Funny that (none / 0) (#2)
    by Patrick on Mon Jan 21, 2008 at 12:22:58 PM EST
    A criminal defense site is going to focus on a misdemeanor conviction of a person when it suit their needs.  I mean, e-gads!  This guy is a criminal....I'm sure it was prosecutor misconduct, or a lying snitch that got this poor innocent man convicted in the first place.

    The hypocrisy is the issue. (none / 0) (#3)
    by scoutfinch on Mon Jan 21, 2008 at 02:15:30 PM EST
    I have many clients who have been denied permission to travel for work, or denied permission to work a particular job because it interfered with monitoring requirements.

    I'd be willing to bet that the P.O. and/or judge who gave this nurse permission has denied plenty of requests in the past.

    So it troubles me to see exceptions being made in the name of performing an execution, while every day people's livelihoods, educational futures, and careers are ruined because judges and probation officers say no to requests just like this.

    certainly there's more than enough to go around (none / 0) (#4)
    by Patrick on Mon Jan 21, 2008 at 04:10:19 PM EST