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death penalty news----ARK., OKLA., KAN., NEB., COLO., USA
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Rick Halperin
2017-05-04 14:44:20 UTC
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Raw Message
May 4



ARKANSAS:

Recent Arkansas Executions Demonstrate Need For Greater Media Access To Capital
Punishment


Arkansas' recent spate of executions of prisoners on death row, conducted with
the use of nearly expired and improperly obtained drugs, was marred by reports
that the drugs used were ineffective and caused the inmates to suffer. But
uncertainty about what happened to inmates in the death chamber illustrates the
need for greater reporter access to these events -- life and death stories for
which they may be the only impartial witness.

The Arkansas Department of Corrections executed 4 men in 8 days, an abridged
version of its initial, unprecedented plan to execute 8 men in 11 days before 1
of its lethal injection drugs expired. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer
called using the expiration date "as a determining factor separating those who
live from those who die ... close to random." 4 other planned executions were
blocked by court orders for multiple reasons, including possible issues with
the clemency process and concerns over use of the sedative midazolam. The four
executions were the first in Arkansas since 2005, and at least two of them may
have been botched. But because of Arkansas' restrictions on media access to
executions, the public may never know for certain. As The Associated Press'
(AP) Kelly Kissel noted:

About 2 dozen people witness each execution in Arkansas, though the term
"witness" is a misnomer. No one among the media or citizen witnesses can see as
the inmate is secured to a gurney, watch as medical personnel place intravenous
lines or hear what's happening as the actual execution takes place. If there's
a dispute over what happened, resolution is difficult.

Sure enough, events in two of four executions in Arkansas are already in
dispute. Lawyers say that during Jack Jones' execution, "infirmary workers had
tried unsuccessfully to insert a central line in Mr. Jones's neck for 45
minutes, before placing it elsewhere on his body" and that "Mr. Jones gulped
for air during the execution ... 'evidence of continued consciousness.'" The
state of Arkansas contradicted these reports, and because of the witness
restrictions Kissel described, neither claim is independently verifiable.
Similarly, during the execution of Kenneth Williams, as NBC News reported,
"Media witnesses reported [Williams] 'coughing, convulsing, lurching, jerking'
for a 10 to 20 second period." Kissel, who was present at the execution,
"explained that Williams 'lurched' 15 times in quick succession, followed by 5
slower lurches, 3 minutes after the sedative midazolam was introduced."
Witnesses stated that Williams could be heard even after the mic was shut off.
State Sen. Trent Garner, R-El Dorado, a citizen witness to the execution,
described the movements in a federal court affidavit as "brief involuntary
muscle spasms" and noted that he saw no evidence of "pain or suffering," such
as a grimace. As a result of the conflicting witness accounts surrounding
Williams' death, a federal judge has called for his execution to be
investigated more closely.

It is reportedly not unusual for states to record executions. Of the four
states in which executions were held this year, taping was permitted at least
in Texas (Media Matters was unable to ascertain whether Virginia or Missouri
allow audio or video recording during executions). But the Arkansas Department
of Corrections does not audio or video record its executions and, even in
written next-day logs, the department does not typically document the specific
times that the drugs are administered or that the inmate is deemed unconscious.

And in the case of Ledell Lee, the 1st person Arkansas executed this year, the
state told media witnesses that they would not be allowed to document his
execution using pen and paper. Although the Department of Corrections reversed
its decision just half an hour before Lee was set to be executed, it is unclear
whether the reversal will remain.

Over the last several years, a number of executions in various states have been
both reported and confirmed to have been botched, as states use untested and
potentially dangerous combinations of drugs, many of which were not created for
the purpose of lethal injection. Drug companies are increasingly objecting to
use of their drugs to kill people, making it harder for states to obtain those
drugs. And the relationship between prisons and lethal injection drug
manufacturers that do permit the use of their drugs in executions has become
less transparent, with several states attempting to enact secrecy laws to
protect their suppliers. Questionable execution practices make transparency and
media access a needed check on the system, but reports suggest that some states
are actually making the execution process less transparent.

KUAR, an NPR affiliate in Little Rock, AR, reported that Texas, Missouri, and
Virginia -- the only other states to have carried out executions this year --
allowed media witnesses to witness and document executions, at least once the
inmate is secured to the gurney and his IV lines have been placed. Previously,
for decades, the Virginia Department of Corrections allowed witnesses to
observe the inmate being secured to the gurney and IV lines being inserted. But
earlier this year, the department changed its policy to prevent witnesses from
observing the inmate from beginning to end. And Oklahoma's policies became so
egregiously restrictive after the botched April 2014 execution of Clayton
Lockett, despite promised reforms, that the ACLU filed a lawsuit arguing that
"the press, and by extension the public, were deprived of the First Amendment
right of access to observe the initiation and termination of the execution
proceeding." The Oklahoma governor also delayed executions until further
notice, and in April 2017, a bipartisan commission unanimously recommended the
state extend its moratorium on the death penalty "until significant reforms are
accomplished," but the attorney general just last week announced his plans to
resume execution protocols planning regardless.

During Lockett's execution, which a prison warden described as "a bloody mess,"
Lockett showed "clear signs of discomfort" after being administered the lethal
injection drugs, and then officials "closed the blinds to the chamber and left
witnesses unable to see his final moments." Lockett "died 43 minutes after the
1st execution drug was administered"; there were initially concerns that he had
died of a heart attack, but while the state autopsy found no evidence of that,
an independent autopsy examination was also never able to confirm this because
the examiner was not given access to his head and neck.

Back in Arkansas, after the state tried to bar reporters from using pen and
paper during the execution, Robert Dunham, the director of the Death Penalty
Information Center, told KUAR reporters that he couldn't think of another state
with the same rule. He used the execution of Joseph Wood in Arizona as an
example of why it was important for reporters to be able to document the event,
saying, "Reporters counted that [Wood] hacked more than 640 times. That was not
something they could have done if they [didn't] have paper and pencil because
they were making tick marks each time that he gasped."

Journalism is instrumental in bringing awareness to, and holding states
accountable for, executions that have potentially violated prisoners' 8th
amendment protection from cruel and unusual punishment. An estimated 3 % of
executions from 1890-2010 have been botched in some way, with lethal injection
yielding the highest percentage of botched executions. The stakes are high for
inmates, their families, and the country. Arkansas and other states that
conduct executions should at least let the media fully bear witness.

(source: mediamatters.org)






OKLAHOMA:

Bible Belt State with Nation's Highest Execution Rate Considers Death Penalty
Flaws


Most Oklahomans believe the devil is real.

State Rep. Mike Ritze thinks that's why they overwhelmingly support capital
punishment, despite highly publicized problems with lethal-injection drugs that
prompted state officials to put a temporary moratorium on executions in 2015.

"Because of our faith-based population, we believe there is evil in the world,"
said Ritze, a Southern Baptist deacon who co-authored a pro-death-penalty
measure supported by 66 % of voters in the November general election.

"We believe in a devil, and we believe in a God," the Republican lawmaker said.
"As a result, I think Oklahomans are very supportive of the death penalty."

But last week - just as neighboring Arkansas finished executing four death-row
inmates in 8 days before 1 of its lethal-injection drugs expired - the Oklahoma
Death Penalty Review Commission recommended that the moratorium be extended.

The commission cited "the volume and the seriousness of the flaws" in the
state's capital punishment system. The bipartisan group of Oklahoma leaders,
organized by the Washington, D.C.-based Constitution Project, made 46
recommendations to revamp the process.

"Many of the findings of the commission's year-long investigation were
disturbing, and led commission members to question whether the death penalty
can be administered in a way that ensures no innocent person is put to death,"
according to the in-depth report.

In some cases, "Oklahoma prosecutors have invoked inflammatory language to
minimize the jurors' sense of responsibility in capital cases, such as invoking
God and the Bible in arguing for the death penalty," according to a discovery
cited on Page 81 of the 272-page document.

The group noted that Oklahoma - with 112 death sentences carried out since the
U.S. Supreme Court reinstated capital punishment in 1976 - boasts the nation's
highest per-capita execution rate.

However, the state's last execution, in January 2015, made international
headlines when a newspaper revealed, 9 months later, that the wrong drugs were
used to put Charles Frederick Warner to death.

"My body is on fire," Warner said as the drugs flowed, prompting claims of
"cruel and unusual punishment" from death penalty opponents.

The execution of Warner, who killed a baby in 1997, followed a botched April
2014 lethal injection in which Clayton Darrell Lockett writhed and moaned on
the gurney, after he'd been declared unconscious.

Connie Johnson, chairwoman of the Oklahoma Coalition to Abolish the Death
Penalty, said the commission's findings have "opened up all kinds of
possibilities that can lead to justice."

Johnson, a former Democratic state senator, is a longtime member of the Church
of the Living God in Oklahoma City and the sister of a murder victim. She said
she forgave the man who killed her brother, just as she believes Jesus died so
that her own sins could be forgiven.

"As an abolitionist, I can speak from a position of been there, done that,"
Johnson said. "So when people say, 'You would feel differently if someone
killed your loved one,' I can say, 'Well, I did have a loved one killed, and
the death penalty isn't the right way.'"

Former Gov. Brad Henry, a Democrat whose administration presided over 40
executions from 2003 to 2011, served as 1 of 3 co-chairs for the 11-person
death penalty review commission.

Henry, who taught Sunday school at his hometown Baptist church before moving
into the governor's mansion, described the drug snafus that gave rise to the
investigation as manifestations of a larger problem.

"There are systemic flaws throughout the entire death penalty process,
beginning with interrogations, beginning with eyewitness identifications,
beginning with various forensic techniques that have been used that have been
debunked as valid science," Henry told reporters.

"There were members of this commission that would advocate for the abolition of
the death penalty," the former governor added. "There were members of this
commission that were staunch defenders of the death penalty. But what we all
agreed on is, if you're going to have the death penalty, it ought to be done
right."

Gov. Mary Fallin, the 2-term Republican who succeeded Henry, and her general
counsel's office will review the private commission's report, Fallin's press
secretary Michael McNutt said this week.

Nationally, support for the death penalty has hit its lowest level in 4
decades, with 49 % of Americans favoring it and 42 % opposing it, according to
the Pew Research Center. 2/3 of U.S. states have paused executions or stopped
them altogether, according to the Death Penalty Information Center.

But in Oklahoma - where 4 out of 5 residents characterize themselves as "very
religious" or "moderately religious," according to Gallup polling - most
residents view the death penalty as a just form of punishment.

"Just because there have been mistakes made in the process doesn't mean there's
a mistake in the policy or the principle," said Bill Hulse, senior pastor of
Putnam City Baptist Church in Oklahoma City.

"Consequences are necessary," said Hulse, whose Southern Baptist congregation
averages 700 people in attendance on Sundays. "I know prison may not be the
best place to be, but for some people, that isn't much of a consequence.
They're going to get cable TV, medical care, and 3 squares a day."

But religious leaders who oppose capital punishment voiced hope the
commission's report will cause the majority of Oklahomans to reconsider their
position.

"I'm hopeful our state will eventually rely on other available ways to
administer just punishment without resorting to lethal measures," said Paul S.
Coakley, the Roman Catholic archbishop of Oklahoma City. "We don't end the
cycle of violence by committing more violence.

"In all of these crimes, we lost a life, and the death penalty only serves to
further devalue human dignity," Coakley added. "Justice can never be achieved
by killing a human being."

Jon Middendorf, senior pastor of Oklahoma City's First Church of the Nazarene,
said he opposes abortion and the death penalty.

Middendorf, whose progressive evangelical congregation claims 1,300 members,
predicts support for the death penalty will decline - even in Oklahoma - as
younger Christians gain power.

"I think things are changing and will change," he said, "because I think there
is a frustration with an older, more fundamentalist, legalistic version of
evangelicalism."

(source: Sojourners)

*********************

Anti-death penalty group will host awards dinner


The Oklahoma Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty (OK-CADP) will host its
26th annual Meeting and Awards Dinner at 6 p.m. Thursday, May 4, at Our Lady's
Cathedral, 3214 N Lake. The event will feature longtime peace activist the Rev.
John Dear as keynote speaker.

The dinner will be in the Connor Center, adjacent to the church. A reception
will be at 5:15 p.m. with a buffet dinner at 5:30 p.m. The program will begin
at 6 p.m.

"We look forward with excitement to hearing Father John Dear's story of
passionate activism," said Connie Johnson, OK-CADP chair.

"His example will both inspire and challenge us to remain vigilant in our
mission to end the death penalty in Oklahoma. We are blessed and honored to
have him as this year's speaker for our 26th Annual Meeting and Awards Dinner."

The Rev. Don Heath, OK-CADP vice chair said, "We hope that Father Dear will
inspire us in our efforts to bring about abolition of the death penalty in
Oklahoma. He is a wonderful speaker and will share his experiences from his
lifetime of work for peace and nonviolence."

A priest and author, Dear is internationally recognized as a voice for peace
and nonviolence. He served for 4 years as the Executive Director of the
Fellowship of Reconciliation, the largest interfaith peace organization in the
United States, and helped to bring about the abolition of the death penalty in
New Mexico by the state legislature in 2009.

Dear has been arrested 80 times while pursuing his activities for peace. He led
Nobel Peace prize winners to Iraq, recently visited Afghanistan, and has worked
for decades to end the death penalty, arranging for Mother Teresa to appeal to
numerous governors to stop executions.

He has been nominated 3 times for the Nobel Peace Prize, including by
Archbishop Desmond Tutu and U.S. Senator Barbara Mikulski. He is the Outreach
Coordinator for Pace e Bene, a non-profit organization that is committed to
building a culture of peace and nonviolence. Now living in New Mexico, he is a
priest of the Diocese of Monterey, Calif.

"The OK Death Penalty Review Commission Report just concluded that innocent
people have been put to death on Oklahoma's death row." Dear said.

"With that one statement, Oklahoma can never again execute anyone ever again.
Of course, the death penalty is unfair, immoral, unjust, and racist. It's way
too expensive. It doesn't bring closure or peace. But now we know it also kills
people who have not hurt anyone. The time has come for Oklahoma to abolish the
death penalty once and for all, as so many other states are doing."

Dear's 35 books include: The Beatitudes of Peace; The Nonviolent Life; Walking
the Way; and Peace Behind Bars. For more information, visit fatherjohndear.org.

The dinner program on Thursday will feature 3 Abolitionists Awards honoring
individuals who have demonstrated extraordinary effort to end the death penalty
in Oklahoma. This year, OK-CADP vice chair Heath will receive the Phil Wahl
Abolitionist of the Year Award, attorney Cathy Hammersten will be honored with
the Opio Toure Courageous Advocate Award, and OK-CADP treasurer Mary E. Sine
will receive the Lifetime Abolitionist Award.

Individual tickets are $50; $15 for students. To purchase tickets, contact Mary
Sine at 532-5443, or visit okcadp.org.

(source: The Oklahoman)





KANSAS:

Top Kansas court to revisit death penalty in Wichita murders


The Kansas Supreme Court is considering for a 2nd time whether to spare 2
brothers from being executed for 4 murders in what became known as "the Wichita
massacre."

The justices were hearing arguments from attorneys Thursday in the cases of
Jonathan and Reginald Carr.

They were convicted of dozens of crimes against 5 people in December 2000 that
ended with the victims being shot in a field. 1 woman survived.

The crimes were among the most notorious in the state since the 1959 slayings
of a western Kansas family that inspired the book "In Cold Blood."

The Kansas court overturned the death sentences in July 2014 and cited flaws in
their joint trial and sentencing hearing. The U.S. Supreme Court rejected the
Kansas court's rulings and forced another review.

(source: Associated Press)






NEBRASKA:

Prosecutors will seek death penalty in cellmate killing

Prosecutors say they will seek the death penalty for Patrick Schroeder, the
inmate facing murder charges in the strangling death of his cellmate last
month.

After a brief hearing Wednesday, Schroeder was whisked away and headed back to
the Tecumseh State Correctional Institution north of town.

In the hallway, Mike Guinan of the Nebraska Attorney General's office said
they, along with Johnson County Attorney Rick Smith, are pondering whether to
file aggravators necessary to make it a capital case and would decide by
Schroeder's arraignment in June.

"We are looking at the aggravators, yes," he said.

On April 15 just after 7:30 p.m., Terry L. Berry, 22, was found unconscious on
the floor with a towel around his neck in the cell he shared with Schroeder,
according to court records. He was taken to a Lincoln hospital, where he died 5
days later.

Investigators said Berry had injuries that were consistent with being
strangled, a court document says.

An autopsy confirmed the cause of death to be strangulation, and the manner of
death to be homicide.

It's unclear why Berry, who was serving a short sentence on a forgery charge
and up for parole a month later, shared a cell with Schroeder, who was serving
a life sentence for killing a 75-year-old Pawnee City farmer in 2006.

The cell in the prison's special management unit -- used to separate inmates
who break rules or pose a risk to staff or other inmates or for an inmate's own
protection -- was built to house a single inmate.

"Almost immediately it did raise some concerns and raised concerns with a lot
of people looking at corrections," Doug Koebernick, the inspector general for
Corrections, said Wednesday.

He's investigating why Berry was placed at Tecumseh and what he was doing in
restrictive housing, in addition to what happened the night he was killed.

"I'll be trying to get to the bottom of it," Koebernick said.

The issue seems likely to be raised should the case go to trial.

"We are asking the same questions," said Schroeder's attorney, Sarah Newell of
the Nebraska Commission on Public Advocacy.

It also could be a question for the grand jury that will be called to review
Berry's death.

Johnson County Attorney Rick Smith said he hasn't yet requested a grand jury in
Berry's killing, or in the killings of 2 inmates at the Tecumseh prison March
2.

He said the investigations are all still pending, as is 1 looking into the
killing of 2 inmates during a Mother's Day riot in 2015.

Last month, Omaha Sen. Bob Krist called for a reopening of the special
legislative investigative committee to look into the continued problems at the
prisons.

"We need to make sure that there's accountability for the (inmate) lives that
have been lost in the last 2 1/2 years," he said within days of Berry's
killing.

On the floor of the Legislature then, he asked who was responsible for the
pairings of inmates and, on Wednesday, said he still questions how the 2 ended
up in 1 cell.

Krist said he's since learned that Berry was a "pretty obnoxious person." Some
wouldn't even sit at dinner with him because he constantly chattered and was an
antagonist, Krist said.

"So why would you put a convicted murderer in the same cell?" he asked. "My
basic point is that I don't even think you should double bunk in administrative
segregation cells. They're too small. You're asking for problems."

After Berry's killing, Corrections Director Scott Frakes said double bunking in
the segregation unit at Tecumseh was very limited and defended its use.

He said "using the correct tools and in the right setting and with the right
population, it's safe and it's OK to house people in a restrictive housing
setting with 2 people in a cell. Just like it is in general population."

On Wednesday, prison spokeswoman Dawn-Renee Smith said state law prevents her
from speaking directly about the circumstances in this case, but said generally
that numerous factors are considered when making cell assignments, including
things like criminal history, institutional behavior and gang affiliation.

As for double bunking in restrictive housing, she said, it's done at prisons
around the country.

"It is a more efficient use of space and it can lessen the feeling of isolation
when another person is in the cell," Smith said.

In June 2015, she said, the prison made a change to allow all restrictive
housing cells to be double bunked. There currently are about 100 cells that are
double bunked in Tecumseh's restrictive housing unit. At the end of last week,
only 10 had 2 inmates in them.

The practice also is done at the Nebraska State Penitentiary, Omaha
Correctional Center and Lincoln Correctional Center.

(source: Lincoln Journal Star)






COLORADO:

Denver civil rights attorney to defend man accused of killing prison officer in
death penalty case----Miguel Alonso Contreras-Perez faces the death penalty for
allegedly fatally slashing a Colorado corrections officer in 2012.


A Denver civil rights attorney who has handled several death penalty cases
across the country has been appointed to defend a man who faces the death
penalty for allegedly fatally slashing a Colorado corrections officer in 2012.

David Lane will represent Miguel Alonso Contreras-Perez, who fired his public
defenders.

Contreras-Perez had been representing himself against charges that he killed
Sgt. Mary Ricard on Sept. 24, 2012. Perez allegedly also stabbed Sgt. Lori Gann
the same day.

Lane was appointed by 16th Judicial District Judge Michael Schiferl. On
Tuesday, Lane requested a 60-day continuance of Contreras-Peres' arraignment.

"The death penalty is a human rights violation," Lane said. "When I see the
government trying to violate a person's human rights I will do everything I can
to stop it."

Contreras-Perez is an Army deserter who was sentenced in 2004 to 35 years to
life in prison after he raped a 14-year-old girl he kidnapped in Colorado
Springs.

According to Contreras-Perez, the attacks on the correctional officers were
spurred by a jealous rage. He was upset because he believed Gann was having a
sexual relationship with another inmate and a staff member.

Previously Lane represented Edward Montour in his 2nd murder trial. Montour had
pleaded guilty to 1st-degree murder in the beating death of corrections officer
Eric Autobee in 2003 and was sentenced to death by a judge. Montour spent 4
years on death row before his sentence was overturned in 2007 by the Colorado
Supreme Court, which said only a jury could impose the death sentence. Montour
later pleaded guilty to the murder in a plea agreement with 18th Judicial
District Attorney George Brauchler, who took the death penalty off the table.

(source: Denver Post)






USA:

Capital punishment in the US needs to be debated on its own merits and may
eventually go the way of Canada. Until then, a humane society needs to choose
the most humane method of employing it-----Gunshot, not Lethal Injections, Is
Most Humane


Lethal injection executions, back in the news, just aren't working. For a
variety of reasons. While they are bloodless (so is strangulation, starvation,
and being broken on the wheel), it appears they often are not painless. They
most certainly are not quick, sometimes taking hours. They arguably violate the
Hippocratic Oath in having a doctor perform them, yet you hardly want an
amateur to perform them. And drug companies don't want their products
associated with causing death. Go figure!

So that's it, right? The U.S. is out of tricks. (Canada abolished the death
penalty long ago.) Or so capital punishment opponents would like us to think,
as a backdoor means of ending the entire institution in the U.S. But while
there may be serious moral grounds for ending executions to consider, it's not
logical to ban it strictly on grounds that there's no form that's totally
painless, bloodless, and quick. Presumably the victims of the perpetrators did
not die in such a manner.

Still, executions in an advanced society should be as humane as possible. And
there is a method that incredibly is allowed by only 2 states - precisely
because it's the most humane.

It's death by gunshot. And its virtues drive capital punishment opponents nuts.
"Reinstatement of executions by firing squad would constitute an embarrassing
step backward," National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, President
Theodore Simon said 2 years ago. "It's inconsistent with the 'evolving
standards of decency that mark the progress of a maturing society,' he said,
and violates the 8th Amendment prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment.

Curious he doesn't even seem to know that in 1878 the Supreme Court ruled
firing squads did not violate the 8th Amendment. The rest is just sophistry. If
you have to die violently, death by gunshot is the way to go. And yet the
traditional firing squad can be improved upon.

When a firing squad execution goes wrong it's inherently due to movement on
either or both sides. Either the prisoner moves or the shooters, from lack of
skill or nervousness, miss the mark. To reduce this you can have more shooters,
but it's still not foolproof.

The better method comprises strapping the subject into a chair too tightly to
even wiggle while a SINGLE weapon is also locked in on the heart using a rifle
rest. Neither target nor firearm can move. Probably the ideal weapon would be
the M-82A1 sniper rifle, using.50 caliber BMG ammunition. That means it's a
half inch wide.

When I saw that rifle in Iraq I was told it was primarily for destroying the
engine block of a rushing vehicle suspected of carrying explosives. The round
would thoroughly rupture the heart, with presumably a split second of pain and
instant unconsciousness followed quickly by brain death from lack of oxygen.

Yes, there's some blood. Which nobody need see but the shooter (and even the
shooting can be triggered remotely) and those who handle the body. (Hanging,
conversely, produces no blood - unless the subject is weighted too heavily in
which case the head pops off. Not enough and the subject strangles. Terrific.)
Which would subjects prefer? It's not academic to them. The last 2 men executed
in the U.S. had a choice between hanging and firing squad, Gary Gilmore and
Ronnie Garner. Both chose gunshot. As Garner explained, "It's so much
easier...and there's no mistakes."

SUPPORT FROM THE HIGH COURT

In February, the Supreme Court rejected an appeal from an Alabama prisoner who
argued that lethal injection violated the Constitutional prohibition against
cruel and unusual punishment; like Gilmore and Garner he wanted a firing squad.
The court had to reject that, because Alabama isn't 1 of those 2 states that
allows it. But Justice Sonia Sotomayor, in a furious and lengthy dissent, made
the case for gunshots. "In addition to being near instant, death by shooting
may also be comparatively painless," she wrote. "Condemned prisoners . . .
might find more dignity in an instantaneous death rather than prolonged torture
on a medical gurney."

She also expressed in, well, rather graphic detail the horrors not just of
botched executions with the other forms of capital punishment used in the
United States but indeed those that proceed normally, such as the electric
chair and the gas chamber. And she cited the data on botched executions. There
have only been 134 by firing squad since 1870, according to one source, but the
number botched appears to be zero.

Locking in both prisoner and weapon would ensure zero.

Yet curiously, only Utah and Oklahoma even allow death by firing squad and then
only as a back-up to lethal injection. They'll get this more humane form only
over the dead bodies of capital punishment foes, who quite literally see
agonizing deaths as serving their purpose. Gilmore had to fight off the ACLU
and the National Association of Colored People get his preferred method of
execution. He twice attempted suicide during the drawn-out process. Now that's
cruel and unusual.

Capital punishment in the US needs to be debated on its own merits and may
eventually go the way of Canada. Until then, a humane society needs to choose
the most humane method of employing it.

(source: Michael Fumento, Canada Free Press)


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