Governor Corbett delays execution of Hubert Michael…for now

By Joshua Albert

Last week The Declaration reported on the ACLU filing a lawsuit on behalf of four Philadelphia news outlets to compel the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections to release the name of the manufacturer who will be providing the drugs used to kill the scheduled execution of Hubert Michael. On Friday, the day after the suit was filed, Republican Governor Tom Corbett temporarily halted the execution. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports:

“Once the drugs are procured, written notice will be sent from Corrections Secretary John Wetzel to Gov. Corbett. Absent a stay, Gov. Corbett shall then sign Michael’s fifth execution warrant setting a new date for execution,” according to Mr. Corbett’s office. Gov. Tom Ridge signed Michael’s first execution warrant on July 31, 1996.

PA hasn’t performed an execution since 1999, and all of the three people who have been executed since 1978 waived the right to appeal. State laws require that specific drugs be used in executions. According to Michael’s attorney, David Rudovsky:

“It is apparent the commonwealth has not been able to secure those drugs”

The ACLU also issued the following statement regarding Corbett’s actions:

“There is more reason today than ever before for restraint, given the string of botched executions in recent months, the growing evidence that many capital defendants do not have effective counsel and the fact that a specially appointed commission of the Pennsylvania Legislature is currently studying our state’s death penalty.”

“Pennsylvania has not carried out an involuntary execution since 1962, and there is no reason to start again in the face of so much evidence that the process violates our most fundamental notions of fairness.”

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