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Wednesday, 2 March 2011

image for Condemned paraplegic fights for disabled-friendly executions
San Quention's death row is wheelchair unfriendly

A 71-year-old paraplegic who killed two Riverside, California police officers nearly 28 years ago is challenging his recently reaffirmed death sentence citing the San Quentin death chamber's "non-compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990" (ADA).

Jackson Chambers Daniels, disabled due to injuries sustained during an earlier bank robbery, gunned down two police detectives on May 13, 1982, as they attempted to serve an arrest warrant in that case.

Shortly after arriving at San Quentin, Daniels learned the execution chamber there "had not been retrofitted with a proper ramp and handrails as mandated under the ADA" according to a brief filed last week in federal court.

The motion was filed on Daniel's behalf by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Northern California.

"The indignity the plaintiff and other affected condemned prisoners would experience upon being carried into the execution chamber is an insult to the Constitution of the United States," ACLU Attorney Rodney McHume told reporters outside the courthouse.

"Denying Mr. Daniels the dignity of wheeling himself to the execution table is cruel and unusual punishment," said McHume. "Anything short of full compliance with ADA regulations will render the execution of an elderly cripple a travesty of justice."

Department of Corrections spokesperson Terry Thornton responded to press inquires stating the corrections agency "is in full compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act" but refused to comment on the suit "pending review by the Attorney General."

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