PUBLIC AI Index: AMR 51/38/99
25 February 1999
Further information on EXTRA 06/99 (AMR 51/11/99, 22 January 1999) - Death
USA (ARIZONA)Karl Hinze LAGRAND
Walter Burnhary LAGRAND
Amnesty International very much regrets that Karl Hinze LaGrand was executed
as scheduled on 24 February 1999.
The US 9
Circuit Court of Appeals had stayed his execution on the grounds
that death by lethal gas constituted cruel and unusual punishment in violation
of the US Constitution. However, the US Supreme Court overturned the stay and
allowed the execution to proceed.
Immediately prior to the execution Governor Jane Hull instructed the prison
authorities to allow LaGrand to choose execution by lethal injection instead,
which he did.
The Arizona Board of Executive Clemency voted 3 to 1 not to grant clemency
to Karl LaGrand. This was despite pleas from the German authorities, who sent
a representative to the clemency hearing.
Before the Board announced their decision, Governor Hull had declared in
newspaper interviews that she would not grant clemency to LaGrand even if it
Hull acknowledged the "strong feelings" coming from Germany but stated, "It
[execution] is our law of the land, and it is the law that I will follow."
According to press reports, a petition of over 50,000 signatures from Germany
urging Arizona to spare the brothers' lives was presented at the clemency
Thank you to all those who sent appeals on behalf of Karl LaGrand. Walter LaGrand
remains scheduled for execution on 3 March 1999. Appeals on his behalf and
expressions of regret at the execution of his brother should be sent to the
authorities indicated in the original actions.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/faxes/express/airmail letters in
English or your own language:
To the Arizona Board of Pardons and Paroles:
- urging the Board to recommend that Governor Hull grant clemency to Walter
To Governor Jane Dee Hull:
- requesting that she commute the death sentences of Walter LaGrand;
- expressing concern that the LaGrands were denied their rights under the Vienna
- acknowledging the seriousness of the offence for which the LaGrands were
sentenced to death and expressing sympathy for the victims of violent crime
and their families.