Just before Nathan Dunlap is put to death, now set for the week of August 18, 2013, the Warden will disconnect the telephone in the execution room and the witness-viewing window curtain will be opened. Department of Corrections (DOC) Regulation 300-14 sets forth the procedures for carrying out a death sentence by lethal injection, but it was not promulgated pursuant to CRS 24-4-101 to 108 – the Administrative Procedures Act (APA). Dunlap sought an order invalidating the Regulation for failure to follow the APA. The Regulation was exempted from the APA, and thus valid, because CRS 17-1-103 and 111, granting the DOC with authority to manage, supervise and control inmates, and to administer sentences imposed by the courts, exempts the DOC from the APA. A partially dissenting judge would have ordered full disclosure of the Regulation to allow courts to make a more informed decision.
Tag Archives: Administrative
Nathan J. Dunlap v. Colorado Department of Corrections and Roger Werholtz as Interim Executive Director, 2013COA63 (April 25, 2013)
“If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary.” Federalist Papers #51. This seemingly modest case raises complicated questions about the separation of powers. At issue were two citizen-initiated proposed ordinances in Aspen and whether they were “legislative” or “executive.” Only legislative acts are proper subjects of voter initiatives. Administrative acts, which are executive in nature, are not permissible initiatives. Legislative acts establish generally applicable rules that weigh broad policy considerations. Executive acts are case-specific, discretionary and typically require specialized knowledge. The Court held, over two dissents, that the initiatives here were impermissible because they were specific proposals on the location, design and construction of a road, and thus, administrative.