In the News

Ty Alper in the news:

Why the execution drug shortage won’t go away

Ty Alper writes for Los Angeles Times, April 13, 2015

The problem facing states is more fundamental: They are seeking to impose the death penalty despite a global economic context in which much of the rest of the modern world abhors the practice. As long as that is the case, they are going to have problems finding pharmaceutical products to carry out executions.

2 incumbents vie for final school board seat

Ty Alper quoted in The Daily Californian, November 9, 2014

“As cliched as it sounds, it takes a real strong organized grassroots campaign, and I was fortunate that I was able to put that together,” Alper said. “I think Berkeley is a small community, and when you have a lot of people working in camp, you can reach a lot of people.”

Challenger defeats 1 incumbent in school board race

Ty Alper quoted in The Daily Californian, November 5, 2014

“I’m looking forward to working with this board and superintendent to keep moving the district forward, because we have a long way to go to be the district that we want to be,” said Alper, who secured the greatest share of the votes.

Challenger Ty Alper gets seat on Berkeley School Board

Ty Alper quoted in Berkeleyside, November 5, 2014

Whatever the outcome, Alper said, “The other candidates are really exceptional people who are so dedicated to the public schools. I’m so excited to work with them and Dr. Evans.”

2 candidates challenge incumbent slate for school board seats

Ty Alper quoted in The Daily Californian, November 2, 2014

“We have an opportunity in Berkeley that we don’t have in many other districts,” he said, “which is to better harness the resources at Cal, because we have this great research university in our backyard. As a faculty member, I’m excited about the new ideas I will bring to the table.”

Should doctors participate in executions?

Ty Alper interviewed on NPR Weekend Edition, May 4, 2014

“I am opposed to the death penalty, and I don’t think that we should be executing people. But if we are, and particularly if we’re going to do it by way of procedures that are shrouded in secrecy and that use experimental combinations of drugs that have never been used before, then we need to have competent medical personnel involved. And I think that courts should require that qualified, competent medical personnel participate.”

Doctors can and do participate in exceutions

Ty Alper writes for The New York Times, May 1, 2014

Death row inmates are people who have been sentenced to death, not torture. They are put to death via a procedure that involves dangerous prescription drugs and, often, complicated issues of venous access…. I agree with those who say that courts should require the participation of competent, qualified medical personnel—including doctors—during such procedures.

Ty Alper Criticizes Secrecy of Execution Protocols

The Associated Press, January 30, 2012 by Amanda Lee Myers

“There’s been a real lack of accountability and transparency in the way states kill people, and it’s something that more and more courts are refusing to allow when you sort of peel back the veil and look at what’s happening,” he said. “The more state officials trying to keep things secret, the more there usually is to discover if you somehow lift the veil.”

Ty Alper Blasts Chancellor’s Response to Police Tactics

Huffington Post, November 14, 2011 by Ty Alper

Bizarrely, the Chancellor suggests that the difference between protestors engaging in a) honorable civil disobedience and b) police obstruction justifying violence is whether the protestors are linking arms with each other. Since when is linking arms and standing ground not non-violent civil disobedience?

Ty Alper Faults Capital Punishment

Daily Kos, September 28, 2011 by Ty Alper

I’m not naïve about the power and relevance of innocence in this context. The fact that we cannot correct a wrongful conviction once a person is executed is among the many reasons to question the wisdom of capital punishment.

Ty Alper Urges Investigation of Death Penalty Procedures

Associated Press, July 22, 2011 by Greg Bluestein

“It is always better to have more transparency in what has been an exceptionally secretive execution process,” said Ty Alper, an attorney who works with the death penalty clinic at the University of California-Berkeley. “But videotaping an upcoming execution is no substitute for conducting a real investigation into what actually happened.”

Ty Alper Questions New Lethal Injection Chemical

Associated Press, June 28, 2011 by Greg Bluestein

“It is clear that something went very wrong during the Blankenship execution and lawyers challenging lethal injection in other states will be taking a very close look at what happened,” said Ty Alper.

Ty Alper Objects to Use of Lethal Injection Drug

The New York Times, April 19, 2011 by Ty Alper

Paralyzing prisoners before injecting them with the potassium chloride that kills them serves one purpose: to make the executions appear peaceful and humane. Are they in fact? It’s almost impossible to know. That’s why the veterinary community rejects the practice of paralyzing animals during euthanasia. Our standards for human executions are not as high.

Ty Alper Says Lethal Injection Drug Shortage Will Delay Executions

The Associated Press, March 10, 2011 by Andrew Welsh-Huggins

The federal government will either have to look overseas for a source or switch to an alternative like pentobarbital following administrative hearings, said Ty Alper…. “I don’t think there’s likely to be any federal executions any time soon,” Alper said.

Ty Alper Describes Deficiencies with California’s Death Chamber

-KPCC-FM, February 8, 2011 by Julie Small and Mike Roe

Fogel found so many deficiencies in the state’s execution system that he issued a moratorium on lethal injections until California fixed some problems, starting with the death chamber’s design. “It was cramped, the lighting was poor, the delivery mechanism for the drugs was really long and convoluted,” says Ty Alper with UC Berkeley Law School’s death penalty clinic.

-KQED-FM, February 8, 2011 Host Cy Musiker

“The equipment that’s used, the chamber that’s used, and the people who’re conducting the execution are important. If the execution is not conducted in a professional way, then there’s a real risk that the person being executed will suffer excruciating pain.”

Ty Alper Expects Challenges to Lethal Injection Drug

The Associated Press, January 28, 2011 by Andrew Welsh-Huggins, Greg Bluestein, and Thomas Watkins

“You can’t just switch pentobarbital for sodium thiopental and proceed as if nothing has changed,” said Ty Alper, the associate director of the death penalty clinic at the University of California-Berkeley. “There’s likely to be litigation and courts will have to satisfy themselves that it will result in a humane execution.”

Ty Alper Says Politics Influences Death Penalty Decisions

La Opinion, December 6, 2010 by Claudia Nunez

“Unfortunately, politics plays an important role in the decision of some prosecutors to seek the death penalty,” said Ty Alper.

Ty Alper Denounces Oklahoma’s Lethal Injection Drug

The Oklahoman, December 4, 2010 by Ty Alper

The Humane Society of the United States also condemns the use of paralyzing drugs in animal euthanasia. The foreword to its training manual states that it is the “moral and ethical duty” of its members to end the practice…. Yet a paralytic drug is used to execute people in Oklahoma, and all but two other death penalty states.

Ty Alper Says Animal Euthanasia More Humane than Lethal Injection

The Daily Beast, November 13, 2010 by Ben Crair

The three-drug formula, Alper writes, is “less reliable, and therefore less humane, than the method used to euthanize animals….” The irony of it all, as Alper points out, is that we developed the three-drug protocol in the first place because we feared a one-drug method would appear as though we were treating people no better than animals. Thirty years later, the opposite turns out to be true.

Ty Alper and Elisabeth Semel Discuss Award-Winning Paper on Executions

The Daily Californian, November 4, 2010 by Katie Bender

Ty Alper will be receiving an award for writing the best article of the year within the Journal of Medical Regulation…. “What interested me in this issue is that courts were saying without any basis that doctors cannot participate,” said Alper…. “If the presence of doctors is necessary to ensure that the execution is not excruciatingly painful, then I would support the presence of doctors to make sure that the execution is humane and constitutional,” he said.

Death Penalty Clinic Director Elisabeth Semel said … Alper’s study shows “how often the three-drug execution procedure can go wrong and result in an execution that violates the Eighth Amendment” as well as “how and why the frequency of botched executions is far greater than the public and the courts understood.”