Blog of Rights

Brian
Stull

Brian Stull is a senior staff attorney with the ACLU Capital Punishment Project. He has served as trial and appellate counsel in capital cases in North Carolina and Texas. Before joining the ACLU, Stull worked for five years at the Office of the Appellate Defender (OAD) in New York City, where he represented indigent criminal defendants convicted of serious felonies on direct appeal and in post-conviction and federal habeas corpus proceedings. Stull holds a B.A. and a M.S.W. from the University of Michigan and graduated cum laude from New York University School of Law.

Former Execution Volunteer Joins ACLU Lethal Injection Suit

By Brian Stull, ACLU Capital Punishment Project at 3:13pm
On October 15, 2007, the State of Nevada was set to execute by lethal injection death-row inmate William Castillo, who had abandoned his appeals and volunteered for execution. In late September, the Supreme Court had agreed to hear the case Baze v. Rees, to decide the constitutionality of Kentucky's lethal injection protocol. Attempting to prevent Nevada from carrying out an execution that would violate the Eighth Amendment's ban on cruel and unusual punishment, the ACLU's Nevada affiliate, working in conjunction with the Capital Punishment Project, filed an action in the Nevada Supreme Court resulting in the stay of all executions in Nevada. The stay was entered only 90 minutes before Castillo's scheduled execution. Castillo has now changed his mind about volunteering for execution and, on May 7, 2008, joined in the ACLU's challenge of Nevada's lethal injection execution procedure. Castillo's attorneys have argued that the case should be sent back to a lower court for a hearing to get details the high court needs to "fully address the constitutionality" of Nevada's execution protocol. Lee Rowland of the Nevada ACLU argued the case in the Nevada Supreme Court. 'We're very glad that our lawsuit gave Mr. Castillo the time to reconsider and decide not to volunteer for the death penalty," she said. The lawsuit comes at a time when the ACLU's National Prison Project has filed suit challenging Nevada's grossly inadequate medical care at Ely Prison, which houses the state's death row.
660 Gasps for Breath, Then Death

660 Gasps for Breath, Then Death

By Brian Stull, ACLU Capital Punishment Project at 1:16pm

We still don't know where the drugs came from.

We know they used midazolam and hydromorphone. We know the combination was experimental. And now we know that instead of working, the drugs took nearly two hours to kill Joseph Wood, as he snorted…

Will the Supreme Court Stop Georgia from Executing an Intellectually Disabled Man?

Will the Supreme Court Stop Georgia from Executing an Intellectually Disabled Man?

By Brian Stull, ACLU Capital Punishment Project at 12:24pm

When Georgia death-row prisoner Warren Hill was young, his sister remembers their mother and grandfather calling him "stupid retard,"...

Court Rejects Attempts to Devalue Life of the Accused in South Texas Capital Case

Court Rejects Attempts to Devalue Life of the Accused in South Texas Capital Case

By Brian Stull, ACLU Capital Punishment Project at 11:58am

"A life in Cameron County [Texas] is worth just the same as a life in other parts of the United States."

This pointed sentence came in Judge Elia Corenjo Lopez's 63-page order this week, in which she recommended that former death-row prisoner…

How Do I Explain to my Six Year-Old Son What Kind of a Society Plans to Execute an Intellectually Disabled Man? [UPDATED]

How Do I Explain to my Six Year-Old Son What Kind of a Society Plans to Execute an Intellectually Disabled Man? [UPDATED]

By Brian Stull, ACLU Capital Punishment Project at 12:09pm

Breaking Update, 2:30pm, February 14th: State doctors reversed an earlier finding and officially declared today that Warren Hill has mild mental retardation, placing Mr. Hill in the category of citizens protected from capital punishment by the 2002…

Velez Hearing Wraps Up With Summations, Offers Lessons on Role of Counsel

Velez Hearing Wraps Up With Summations, Offers Lessons on Role of Counsel

By Brian Stull, ACLU Capital Punishment Project at 12:02pm

Yesterday was the final day of the hearing in Brownsville, Texas, for ACLU client and former death-row prisoner Manuel Velez.  Judge Elia Cornejo Lopez heard summations, requested the parties to prepare proposed findings for her consideration,…

Velez Hearing Day 3: A Portrait of Constitutionally Inadequate Counsel

Velez Hearing Day 3: A Portrait of Constitutionally Inadequate Counsel

By Brian Stull, ACLU Capital Punishment Project at 2:47pm

In Day 3 of the Velez hearing in Brownsville, Texas, I want to take a moment to explain the legal context – the rule of constitutional law – that will entitle Manuel Velez to relief if the judge, the Hon. Elia Cornejo Lopez, credits the…

Day 2 of Velez Hearing: State’s Witness Dismantles State’s Timeline Theory

Day 2 of Velez Hearing: State’s Witness Dismantles State’s Timeline Theory

By Brian Stull, ACLU Capital Punishment Project at 11:22am

We’re in day 2 of the Manuel Velez innocence hearing in Brownsville, Texas.  As we’ve previously explained, this case posed a dilemma because two adults were in a Brownsville home on Halloween 2005 when 11-month- old Angel Moreno was…

Could Manuel Velez be the 13th Prisoner Exonerated from Texas’s Death Row?

Could Manuel Velez be the 13th Prisoner Exonerated from Texas’s Death Row?

By Brian Stull, ACLU Capital Punishment Project at 2:31pm

Imagine you are caring for a toddler and suddenly he stops breathing.  You quickly get him medical aid, but it’s too late: the child dies at the hospital where medical personnel were unable to revive him.  That would be a horrific nightmare…

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