Saturday, September 29, 2007

Texas Planning New Execution Despite Ruling

Unlike other states, Texas is risking a confrontation with the Supreme Court by choosing to proceed with lethal injections after the court stayed one execution.

read more digg story

Here is a key passage in this article:

Several legal experts said the Supreme Court reprieve would be seen by most states as a signal to halt all executions until the court determined, probably some time next year, whether the current chemical formulation used for lethal injections amounts to cruel and unusual punishment barred by the Eighth Amendment.

Not Texas. Dealing with elected officials in Texas must be an experience akin to trying to talk logically to a hormonally-imbalanced teenager. No facts, no logic, no appeal to morality, and now apparently no court decisions will delay this courier of death from its appointed rounds.

The irony is that the actions of Texas may hasten the end of the death penalty in the U.S. In Furman v. Georgia (1972) Justice Brennen wrote that one of the stands that could be used to determine if a punishment is cruel and unusual is the level of public support. The Court took notice of the international ban on executing juveniles and the number of states that had already prohibited the execution of juveniles when it finally got around to applying the 8th Amendment in Roper v. Simmons (2005). Public support of capital punishment has been declining since 2000. We think that concern over the execution of innocent individuals, botched executions, and the cost versus the effectiveness are all factors that are contributing to the decline.

Texas is helping to make the case that the death penalty does not work because its death penalty machine suffers from all of these flaws plus the usual ones such as inadequate legal representation, race, social class, and the typical death row living conditions. The story behind the execution of Michael Richard is both typical and outrageous - sorry you missed the filing deadline by 20 minutes - we don't want to keep the executioner waiting.

This latest tantrum from the State of Texas further expose just how far removed it is from the rest of civilization.

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