Thursday, August 4, 2016

Another one bites the dust

You can now add Delaware to the list of states that have effectively abolished the death penalty. Earlier this week the Delaware Supreme Court ruled that the state's method of deciding who gets murdered by the state was unconstitutional.

Delaware was one of three states (Florida and Alabama are the others) in which the judge, not the jury, decided who got the needle and who got life in capital cases. The Florida law was struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court which held that under the Sixth Amendment, it is the jury who is to make the decision. Florida then passed a new law that allowed the death penalty to be imposed on a 10-2 vote by the jury - that statute is being challenged as well.

With the decision by the Delaware Supreme Court, the death penalty has been abolished in 19 states. Executions in other states have been placed on hold due to an inability of the states to obtain the drugs necessary to kill inmates.

Last year, in an effort to keep their ability to murder inmates, Utah re-imposed the firing squad. As barbaric as it is, at least the use of a firing squad shows the world the brutality involved in killing someone deliberately.

There is one problem, however. In Utah there are five volunteer members of the firing squad. Only four of the shooters have live ammunition in their rifles - the fifth shooter has a blank. The purpose is so that the members of the firing squad can all go home afterward and tell themselves they didn't fire the fatal bullet.

And that's a tacit admission from everyone involved that the death penalty is wrong. If Utah really believed it was right, then they wouldn't give someone a blank - they'd give everyone live ammunition.

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