In effort to block executions in Mo., ACLU focuses on anesthesiologist

Aug 30, 2013

Credit Noahudlis / Wikimedia Commons

The American Civil Liberties Union hopes to block two executions in Missouri this fall by seeking to disqualify the anesthesiologist used by the Department of Corrections.

Jeffrey Mittman is Executive Director of the ACLU of Eastern Missouri.  He says the American Board of Anesthesiology has recently adopted the same standards used by the American Medical Association, meaning that they cannot participate in ending someone's life.

"This individual has asserted that in the past he has participated in an execution, and that he intends to do so (again) in the future," Mittman said.  "On that basis, there is sufficient evidence for the ABA to suspend (his) certification."

The state has chosen not to publicly identify the anesthesiologist in question, referring to him only as "M3."

"Based on...the apparent desire of this anesthesiologist to flout the professional rules of his certifying organization, we have notified the ABA of this fact and are hopeful that they will suspend (his) licensing, pending a hearing to determine what's going on," Mittman said.

Earlier this month the Missouri Supreme Court set execution dates, on October 23rd and November 20th, respectively, for Allen Nicklasson and Joseph Franklin, who were both convicted of murder in separate cases.

Nicklasson was found guilty in the 1994 murder of Richard Drummond, a "Good Samaritan" who had offered to give Nicklasson a ride at his broken-down automobile on I-70.  Nicklasson was convicted of being the trigger-man -- his associate, Dennis Skillicorn, was executed in 2009 for his role in Drummond's death.

Franklin was convicted in 1997 of fatally shooting Gerald Gordon at a St. Louis-area synagouge.  He's also been found guilty of murders in Utah and Wisconsin, and has claimed responsibility for shooting Hustler magazine publisher Larry Flynt.

Meanwhile, officials with the Department of Corrections and the Missouri Attorney General's office have refused to comment on the ACLU's actions.

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