Deathrow Inmate Loses Appeal But State Is Not Yet Equipped to Execute Him


Convicted Nebraska cult killer Michael Ryan recently lost his appeal to stay his execution. As a Nebraska Appeals attorney discusses, despite this loss, the state is still not ready to execute him.

The Facts Leading Up to Ryan’s Conviction
Michael Ryan was convicted of the brutal torture and murder of James Thimm in 1985. Ryan, a cult survivalist leader at the time, was also convicted of killing a five-year-old child of one of his cult members. Mr. Ryan was sentenced to death and has since filed five unsuccessful appeals to overturn his conviction and stay his execution. A criminal appeals lawyer can discuss the legal basis for those appeals.

The Grounds for the Appeals
In his latest appeal, Mr. Ryan argued that the state of Nebraska was attempting to use an improper drug for his lethal injection, sodium thiopental. Additionally, Mr. Ryan claimed the state’s change from executions by electrocution to lethal injection was improper. Mr. Ryan did not prevail on his appeal, but his execution is not scheduled since there is still controversy surrounding the drugs used in Nebraska lethal injections.

Nebraska’s Current Lethal Injection Protocol
Since eliminating death by electrocution, Nebraska has adopted a three drug protocol for lethal injections. The problem, as an appeals attorney can explain is with the procurement of the third drug, sodium thiopental. The state’s supply of this drug has expired and there has been mounting difficulty replacing it as one U.S. manufacturer ceased making it and a Swiss manufacturer refuses to sell it. This is an ongoing issue for states that use lethal injection as their primary means of carrying out executions.

Written by:

Published In:

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© Brownstone, P.A. | Attorney Advertising

Don't miss a thing! Build a custom news brief:

Read fresh new writing on compliance, cybersecurity, Dodd-Frank, whistleblowers, social media, hiring & firing, patent reform, the NLRB, Obamacare, the SEC…

…or whatever matters the most to you. Follow authors, firms, and topics on JD Supra.

Create your news brief now - it's free and easy »

All the intelligence you need, in one easy email:

Great! Your first step to building an email digest of JD Supra authors and topics. Log in with LinkedIn so we can start sending your digest...

Sign up for your custom alerts now, using LinkedIn ›

* With LinkedIn, you don't need to create a separate login to manage your free JD Supra account, and we can make suggestions based on your needs and interests. We will not post anything on LinkedIn in your name.