More on the execution stoppage. When 3 won't go into a law designed for 2.

Governor Rounds, citing a problem with the current law which mandated the use of two drugs instead of the three that are used in common practice, is putting off the execution of Elijah Page for a year according to Keloland news:
Rounds and Attorney General Larry Long say the law on the books since 1984 requires the state to use two drugs to kill a condemned person, but the standard nowadays is a three-drug combination.

Long says using the three drugs, as was planned, could put the people who carry out the execution at legal risk.

Rounds says the stay is in place until next July. That would give lawmakers time during the next session in the spring time to review the law and bring it into line with the common practices of lethal injection.
Read it all here.

Comments

looking from the mountain top said…
What? He never heard of calling a special session? That way he could get it done before the election....

OH!.... I get it now. He doesn't want to do it before the election.

Just like 2005. He didn't want to sign the bill outlawing abortion, so he dumped it back on the legislature.

What's next? He's going to have to have harsh words with one of his kids? Forget it. He'll pass that duty to the legislature, too.

Silly Governor. Spinal columns are for leaders.
Anonymous said…
Does this sound familiar? A Flaw in the Law? Same reason he gave for not signing the abortion bill a couple of years ago.
Sounds like pandering without making it look like pandering.
Anonymous said…
On this and every other issue of any magnitude, Rounds' position is always consistent. He feels strongly both ways.
mhs said…
A special session? For this dirtbag? You gotta be kidding me. Lifting one finger to make his life or death easier isn't worth the effort. The legislature should convene at its regular time, the law should go into effect like all other new statutes (no emergency clause) and then we'll cook the mutt when we damn well feel like it.

Any blame here probably needs to rest with the AG's office and the Governor's lawyers equally. I think I heard Long say in the press conference that his office did not push the issue since mutt's lawyers did not make an objection. They clearly had a prosecutor's mindset about winning the case before them when they needed to step back and represent all state interests.

Rounds' lawyer clearly dropped the ball, it's his job to advise the Governor on all aspects and he should have raised the statutory question early on. Just because the judge and defendant cleared the way unexpectedly was no reason to rush the process and not have all the little ducks lined up.
mhs said…
Oops, hit the post before I was finished.

My final point is that DOC really, really dropped the ball. We've had several people on death row for nearly 10 years now. DOC are the ones charged with enforcing sentences in this sate and the ones responsible for carrying them out. It is the ultimate sentence this state can hand out. You'd think they would have looked at the statute at least once in the last decade and realized it's out of date.
Anonymous said…
What does the law on the number of chemicals have to do with anything when Page wants to die and he has dropped all of his appeals? Nobody has any liability in that situation. If they did have liability for using 3 chemicals instead of two, then all they have to do is follow the law and switch back to 2 chemicals if that is what the law calls for. Problem solved.

This just a red herring to get Rounds out of a tough position before the election. Rounds really can come up with some BS.
Anonymous said…
I hope we get all our ducks in a row so we can execute Page, Moeller, Rines, and Piper before some anti-death penalty softy like Schoenbeck gets in there. Another person who takes his lead, not from the statutes nor from the Bible, but from the bishop or the pope.

For Schoenbeck's flippant reaction to the implementation of the death penalty, check out Tuesday's http://thepublicopinion.com ("Area Residents Split on Death Penalty")(Registration is free.)

The commandment “thou shalt not kill” is a good rule to follow, Schoenbeck said.

“I'm a pretty good lawyer and I haven't found any small print exception to it,” he said

I'm not a lawyer--and I certainly don't know any "pretty good" ones--but if Schoenbeck was to actually turn his attention to the Bible, he would find that the very One who gave us the commandment "Thou shall not kill." is the one who established the death penalty. And He has never said anything that would suggest that He changed his mind...no matter how the warm-fuzzy hand wringers among us try to make us believe otherwise.
Anonymous said…
anon 7:40
Rounds has the liability. The liability of losing the election. Long has no risk against Volesky so "I had a legal issue" BS. The AG office is out of control. Time to kick the bums out.
Anonymous said…
Oh
One more point. Volesky can't be any worse. The integrity of the AG's office can only go up from here. Did Long lose all of his ballot explanations?
Anonymous said…
Anon 7:40 has it figured out.

This is politics, plain and simple.

What a chickenshit governor we have.
Bob Newland said…
God may have established the death penalty, but God also said, "Vengeance is mine."

Incidentally, any of you who want to witness the justice system in action, I go on trial Thursday (8/31) at the Pennington Co. Court House at 8:30 am. Y'all are invited.

The crime? I asked people a question inside the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center during the Stock Show in Feb. If convicted, the max is a year in jail and $1000 smackers fine.
Anonymous said…
Anon 8:00 said that,
"...the very One who gave us the commandment "Thou shall not kill." is the one who established the death penalty. And He has never said anything that would suggest that He changed his mind..."

Really? I'd take a look at Matthew 25:34-40:

34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:

35 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:

36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.

37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?

38 When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?

39 Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?

40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
Anonymous said…
Did you catch that?

"I was in prison, and ye came unto me."

"Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me."
Anonymous said…
You people should read the news articles before you comment. The governor's decision makes alot of sense.

He only found out THIS AFTERNOON about the problem with the execution law - if anyone is to blame, its the Attorney General.

There is no reason to call a special session, because there is no great rush to have the execution. The legislature can fix the law in January, and then it can go forward.

I think we should be glad to have a governor who finds such a subtlty in the law, even when the AG apparently fails to inform him of it.
Anonymous said…
And btw, the politically smart thing for Rounds to do would be to let the execution go ahead - like 70% of S. Dakotans favor the death penalty.
Anonymous said…
Give me a break. Rounds simply does not have the cojones to be governor. Discover a subtle problem with the law? Ya, right. He is a good mayor of Pierre, but a miserable excuse for a governor. He could have commuted the sentence or let the execution go forward. He inherently lacks the intestinal fortitude to do either. Where the hell is Janklow when we need him?
Anonymous said…
Anon 8:15 & 8:19, how does that translate to "Do not carry out the death penalty?"

You liberals will misconstrue anything to further your cause.

From a previous comment by Dudley Sharp:

"At no point, however, does Jesus deny that the State has authority to exact capital punishment. In his debates with the Pharisees, Jesus cites with approval the apparently harsh commandment, He who speaks evil of father or mother, let him surely die (Mt 15:4; Mk 7:10, referring to Ex 21:17; cf. Lev 20:9). When Pilate calls attention to his authority to crucify him, Jesus points out that Pilate's power comes to him from above-that is to say, from God (Jn 19:1 l).Jesus commends the good thief on the cross next to him, who has admitted that he and his fellow thief are receiving the due reward of their deeds (Lk 23:41). "
PP said…
Guys and anons, take a breath.

It's easy to talk about being brave or cowardly, but this is a person's life we're talking about - no matter how malevolent a piece of garbage they are.

A year of sitting around waiting to die is probably more of a punishment than just getting it over with. It's not like he's going anywhere.

In the meantime, sleep on it, and comment after a night of reflection.

And for those of you quoting verse, all it does is make me think of Austin 3:16.

(That's a wrestling reference for the uninitiated)
Anonymous said…
"A year of sitting around waiting to die is probably more of a punishment than just getting it over with. It's not like he's going anywhere."

No, PP, death is the ultimate penalty. That's why most human beings fear death on some level, but they do not generally feel that living with the memory of all their previous transgressions is really so bad. I don't care how small his cell is. Don't kid yourself. The death penalty is the ultimate prevention of further crime.

By the way, what would happen if Page was to kill a guard at some point in the next year? Don't guess it'd be worth the "prudence" demonstrated this evening, would it?
Anonymous said…
It is too bad they didn't discover the "problem" until 4:45 p.m. the day of the execution. Was it the five o'clock evening news deadline, the time the government shuts down in Pierre, or the time they finally got around to looking at the statutes before implementing them? Anyway you answer it, it speaks volumes of the competency of the folks in Pierre.
Randy said…
We need a leader in the Governor's office, not someone who is trying to be too cute on serious issues. This is the second time Rounds has tried to dance around a controversial issue because he was unwilling to take a meaningful stand. He was probably hoping that Page would decide himself to renew his appeals...but that didn't happen and Rounds had to construct this elaborate story.
Anonymous said…
This governor is a flipping idiot. If the law says use two chemicals, then use two chemicals. What's wrong with following the law? If one chemical puts the guy to sleep and the other kills him, what is the third for anyway?

Page would still get much better treatment than the kids these monsters tortured and slowly killed. Just get it over with already!
Anonymous said…
The law doesn't need to be changed. It just needs to be followed. If the DOC, an executive agency run by a Rounds appointee won't follow the law, then Rounds needs to start firing people. But all that really needed to be done was just to turn the valve on the first two chemicals as the law clearly states, and not turn the valve on the third chemical. Everybody but the governor can figure that out.

The governor can stay the execution. That is within his authority. But at the very least he owes the public the truth about why he's doing it instead of some made up lie about problems that don't exist. Rounds is not an honest man.
Anonymous said…
It would not make sense for the governor to do this for political reasons - the vast majority of S. Dakotans favor the death penalty. The only explanation that makes sense is the one that he has offered.
Anonymous said…
"Rounds is not an honest man."

True. Sad, but very, very true.

As a conservative Republican, there is no way in the world I could vote for Rounds. The Constitution candidate will get my vote, but I'd leave it blank before I'd vote for any of the other three.
Anonymous said…
Fast forward to Monday November 6th - the eve of election day. Rounds discovers a flaw in the election law. It's really not a flaw in the law, but just a flaw in how the election will be conducted. Rounds cancels election!
Anonymous said…
Anon 9:43 - You seem to forget that Page dropped his appeals and opted for death. People look at things differently, and some prisoners choose death over life behind bars.

Anon 7:43 - There is always the possibility that one of Page's relatives would decide to sue the state because the law wasn't followed. And, as remote as it seems, there is always the possibility that they could win and collect damages from the state. Stranger things have happened in courts of law.
Anonymous said…
There is nothing wrong with taking a little time to make sure we do this right.
Anonymous said…
Rounds drops the ball again. He really needs to grow a pair and then maybe he can become a leader. It's sad.
Anonymous said…
anon 12:00am said,
"It would not make sense for the governor to do this for political reasons - the vast majority of S. Dakotans favor the death penalty."

I disagree with you. The sanctity of life is a huge issue in this election, and Rounds is the guy who signed HB1215. Even though most S Dakotans might favor the death penalty, there is a political problem when with one hand the Gov signs a bill respecting the sanctity of life, and with the other he signs the papers allowing the state to execute a person.

They may very well be two totally different situations, but the fact is this would present Rounds's opposition with an opportunity to attack him for being inconsistent.

By staying the execution, he avoids that political issue.

Of course, he raises another: the fact that he's a chickenshit who can't muster the courage to act when the big issues are in front of him.

Personally, I'd prefer inconsistent to chickenshit.

The fact that he did this for essentially political reasons is astonishing.
Anonymous said…
You people seem to forget the Rounds advertisement where his smile is imposed in front of the term "Leadership." See, he's got that taken care of.
Anonymous said…
Hey, all you people who are slamming Governor Rounds - Does this mean you're going to vote for Billion?
HELL YES!
Damn that Rounds! He's making me cuss!
Billion for Governor all the way!
Anonymous said…
If only there were someone worth voting for running for governor...

People in SD do favor the death penalty, regardless of how that's portrayed to be a "life" issue. People are anti abortion too. If a majority of the voters are both anti-abortion and pro-death penalty, Rounds isn't doing what he ought to do, politically speaking.

It seems to me that he's just bending to pressure put on him from the Bishop. He wants to please everyone this is what he came up with as a way to do it. Blame the law (when he could just follow it and proceed with the execution if he wanted to). Make it the legislature's problem, and avoid the buck stopping at his desk.
Anonymous said…
Anon 11:17 -

Your cricism doesn't make sense for two reasons:

1) He did not call of the execution - he delayed it.
2) We do not have a bishop, and we have not for two years.
Anonymous said…
12:47

You are engaging in the same parcing of the words that Rounds is. Face it, Rounds is nothing more than a wishy-washy panderer. As long as Billion doesn't get too liberal, this republican will be casting his vote for Billion. At least the democrat would call himself one. Plus, it would be refreshing to not have our governor lie to us all of the time.
Anonymous said…
12:47

My criticism is exactly that he didn't call off the execution. He also didn't allow it to go forward. He tried to ride the fence by putting it off and foisting responsibility on someone else.

As for the Bishop comment, it really makes no difference to the argument I'm making. Substitute "church" for "bishop" if that makes you feel better. He was getting pressure to value even Page's life while cognizant of the fact that a majority (some would say super majority) of South Dakotans support the death penalty.
Anonymous said…
So Kelo is reporting tonight that the state new of the conflict w.the law and practice months ago. Did they sit on it hoping this poor sap would appeal or a judge would intervene because of his codefendant's answers? Didn't Rounds say he didn't know until the day of that the conflict existed? Believable? Incompetence? Triangulation?
the answers to your questions are NO, YES, and Maybe!
Anonymous said…
I am disappointed with Rounds but I won't vote for Billion because I can't stand his running mate.
Anonymous said…
It's not triangulation, it's poor, piss poor political and legal advise from the Governor's staff. (notice I said Gov's staff not the AG's office. Long is rock solid on the issue.)

Rounds has several problems. He's clearly running for the Senate and Gov at the same time. Don't do it. People in SD want clear, definite leadership, maybe even a bit of paternalistic Daddy Janklow desk pounding.

Secondly, Rounds doesn't know who he is as a person and as a politician. He's is still running for the state senate only with more air time. Rounds has never articulated where he stands on the death penalty. (If he has cite it for me so I can read it.) This is true when he makes bonehead decisions like today. You can almost see his advisors pleading for more time to figure out what to do.

Third, and this finishes my second point. Rounds and his advisors are indecisive and hesitant. It shows painfully through on issues like these.
Anonymous said…
Don't let Long off of the hook. Why didn't he do something about this long ago? Couldn't he have asked the legislature to fix the "problem"?

Long also can't write ballot explanations, can't interpret what can and cannot be placed on the ballot, and apparently cannot even make sure a death sentence goes smoothly.

This is utterly pathetic!
Anonymous said…
According to today's newspaper, Long told Rounds he could go forward like 9 other states with two drug laws that have executed with three drugs. Rounds may very well be in serious trouble. His cute gamesmanship may just be his unraveling.

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