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Lethal injections: Are they 'cruel'?

Posted Thursday, September 27, 2007, at 6:43 AM

The Supreme Court will consider the constitutionality of lethal injections.

Two Death Row inmates from Kentucky complain lethal injection violates the Eighth Amendment's ban on cruel and unusual punishment.

The Eighth Amendment:

"Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted."

Well, duhhh... Death is "cruel" when administered by a government. And note I'm not attacking the death penalty or the government by using the word 'cruel', simply stating a fact. Dictionary.com describes 'cruel' as "willfully or knowingly causing pain or distress to others."

Those absolutely proven guilty have already committed a "cruel" act of their own or they wouldn't be in a death chamber.

Should the public at large be concerned about someone who has committed the ultimate violent crime -- murder of the innocent -- being allowed to peacefully, quietly drift away into the next world? (And, remember, we don't know what punishment may be awaiting on the other side...)


Comments
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I am conflicted on this because on one hand, even though the person might have committed a horrendous crime but is it our right to inflict a cruel death on someone else? I think death is a final solution to the person committing the crime . . .they will no longer be around to commit the crime or experience life so why do we need to torture them in the process? When we do that, what make us any different than them?

On the other hand though, if I was the person who lost someone I loved or knew to the crime then I would want the accused to suffer as much as possible because the person I lost couldn't be brought back and I would have to suffer the rest of my life because I lost someone I loved. Does personal justice or vengeance really justify execution or injection and pain?

It's a hard one to decide. And if you look at it from a religious standpoint, what would Jesus do? I cant imagine him throwing a switch or administering an injection to someone. When they die . . . They will either face judgment from God or just fade away into dirt and exist no more(that is if you don't believe in some form of religion or you are a JW).

-- Posted by jaxspike on Thu, Sep 27, 2007, at 8:13 AM

Is lethal injection cruel? Not to me. Although we could just set a date, and put a pill in their drink or something....that would not be cruel b/c they wouldn't be in any pain and it wouldn't cause distress b/c they would just go to sleep. After you have done something cruel and unusual you don't get to tell me that I can't! Not that I am the executioner or anything. =)

-- Posted by LauraSFT on Thu, Sep 27, 2007, at 8:24 AM

Absolutely Not. I may have different views of the death penalty if our system actually kept murderer's and child molesters in jail but they don't. Take Edward McGee for instance he killed and raped two little girls and has spent only 41 years in jail he is about to be released into the general public. Do you think that is justice? I don't think so. Think about how you would feel if the man who took your child away from you was able to walk free.And McGee is only one of thousands that walk after committing murder.

-- Posted by Dianatn on Thu, Sep 27, 2007, at 9:11 AM

And if you look at it from a religious standpoint, what would Jesus do? I cant imagine him throwing a switch or administering an injection to someone. When they die . . . They will either face judgment from God or just fade away into dirt and exist no more(that is if you don't believe in some form of religion or you are a JW.

Posted by jaxspike on Thu, Sep 27, 2007, at 8:13 AM

Your comment was obviously heartfelt and one can see your internal struggle with this issue in your writing. The question you posed is demonstrated throughout the Bible. God is vengeful ie: the great flood, famine, scattering of the temple, etc. Mr. McClanahan's explanation is correct. I am personally glad that I do not have to make the call on this issue, but the people have spoken in a majority vote time and time again when polled.

-- Posted by rebel4ever37 on Thu, Sep 27, 2007, at 9:58 AM

forget about feeling sorry for someone that has taken a innocent life, if that person is found guilty beyond a resonable doubt dismiss that person in the exact same manner he killed his victim...and eye for an eye, if a person shoots someone and kills them, take that person out and shoot him in the same manner he killed his victim, if a person stabs someone to death, take that person and stab him to death, if a child molester rapes a child, casterate that person believe me he wont rape another child, for that matter that law should apply to all convicted rapist, if a person steals...take a finger, steals again....take a hand....don't think that person will steal again. I don't think we make it hard enough on criminals thats why crimes are repeated over and over again by the same persons.

-- Posted by slingshot on Thu, Sep 27, 2007, at 12:13 PM

Ever hear of the Innocence Project?

The Innocence Project was established in the wake of a landmark study by the United States Department of Justice and the United States Senate, in conjunction with Columbia Law School. Among the study's estimates are 5% failure rates in the U.S. justice system, which suggests as many as 100,000 falsely convicted prisoners. Other reports place the estimate as high as 10%. 75% of wrongful convictions are caused by eyewitness misidentification.

In 2007, after an investigation began by The Innocence Project, James Calvin Tillman was exonerated after serving 18 years in prison for a rape he did not commit. 18 years!! How can we ever repay this man or give him his life back? How about his family?

As of September 5th, 2007, 207 defendants previously convicted of serious crimes in the United States had been exonerated by DNA testing. Almost all of these convictions involved some form of sexual assault and approximately 25% involved murder.

All of these people were convicted beyond a reasonable doubt by a jury of their peers.

Which one would you like to be responsible for?

-- Posted by rebel4ever37 on Thu, Sep 27, 2007, at 1:46 PM

No one in the jail ever broke any law....just ask 'em! If it is possible to falsely imprison is it not possible to falsely exonerate?

-- Posted by LauraSFT on Thu, Sep 27, 2007, at 3:04 PM

What I am saying is, you don't get too many Daryl Holton cases. There aren't that many open and shut. If it is an open and shut case of cold blooded murder, then what? In about 10 years there will be another murderer turned loose, a cold blooded murderer! He never denied shooting a man in the head at point blank range with a deer rifle, then he proceeded to shoot the man's wife. She didn't die so he beat her. He admits all of this...should he be set free?

-- Posted by LauraSFT on Thu, Sep 27, 2007, at 3:11 PM

I am not against the death penalty Miss Laura. I was merely responding to the old west style of vigilante execution advocated by another blogger. Clearly there are prisoners that should have to pay the ultimate price and those that are convicted on scentific and forensic evidence should incur the consequences, whether it be life in prison or death. That especially includes confessed killers or others that commit similar henious crimes. I also do not believe in "good time' reduction from jail time. Do the crime-do all the time that goes with it.

-- Posted by rebel4ever37 on Thu, Sep 27, 2007, at 4:08 PM

I think the time should fit the crime but in many instances it does not. In a lot of cases the crimes that are exactly the same get different penalties, just look sometimes at the blotter at jail intake...same crimes but less of a fine.. Why is that? I guess it's the same reason some people only stay 20-30 years for murder and drug dealers get the same amount of time. I realize drug dealers should be punished but I had much rather a drug dealer be walking the streets than a known murderer.

-- Posted by Dianatn on Thu, Sep 27, 2007, at 4:36 PM

amen dianatn

-- Posted by slingshot on Thu, Sep 27, 2007, at 9:20 PM

Excerpted from an Associated Press story this morning:

Two convicted killers contend in lawsuits that Alabama's lethal injection procedures can subject inmates to unconstitutionally cruel pain because they are not completely unconscious when their lungs and hearts are stopped.

"Even people who support the death penalty can be opposed to executions that are gratuitously inhumane and tortuous," said anti-death penalty attorney Bryan Stevenson.

At the trial, the state attorney general's staff will argue that medical professionals carry out executions appropriately, and Alabama's executions have been free of problems.

-- Posted by David Melson on Fri, Sep 28, 2007, at 7:05 AM


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David Melson is a copy editor and staff writer for the Times-Gazette.