Friday, April 27, 2012

Update: One drug executions

Once again the State of Texas tied an inmate to a gurney and pumped poison into his veins and called a murder an execution. Once again trained medical personnel disregarded the oaths they took to do no harm and aided the government in killing a man. Once again the murder of an inmate failed to bring the people he killed back from the dead.

Beunka Adams is dead. But his death changed nothing. Maybe Rick Perry can brag out killing another person the next time he runs for office.

As it turns out, Thursday was a banner day for news on executions in these United States. In Kentucky, a state circuit judge ruled that the state must consider switching to a one-drug protocol for its executions or continue to face challenges to the three-drug protocol now being used.

Challenges have been made under the Eighth Amendment arguing that the three-drug protocol constitutes cruel and unusual punishment due to concerns that inmates feel excruciating pain during the process but, because of the drug that paralyzes the inmate, it appears that he has fallen into unconsciousness.

The judge said with the increase in the number of states using pentobarbital to conduct one-drug executions, it is time that Kentucky consider changing its protocol in order to moot the pending litigation.

At the same time we have a story out of Arizona that a defense attorney who was present as a witness at his client's execution saw his client shake violently after being administered the single drug. The attorney, Tim Gabrielson, is concerned that his client experienced pain during the execution.

Arizona uses pentobarbital to murder inmates.

Although some may not see the problem with a condemned man suffering pain as he is being executed, the deliberate infliction of pain by the state is of grave concern. While the state has the ultimate power to decide who lives and who dies - the state does not have the authority to subject its citizens to the intentional infliction of physical pain. Such conduct not only violates the Eighth Amendment, it also undermines the moral authority of the government.

H/T Doug Berman (Sentencing Law & Policy)

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