Thursday, September 27, 2007

Cruel punishment? Texas and other states should halt lethal injections while the Supreme Court weighs constitutionality

Thats the title of Houston Chronicle's editorial calling on Texas to stop all executions while the Supreme Court considers constitutionality of lethal Injections.

There are several good reasons to give every death row inmate an indefinite reprieve. This week the U.S. Supreme Court found another.

Particularly in Texas, the nation's execution leader, the criminal justice system is prone to mistakes and abuse. The system is too unreliable in its assessment of guilt to justify exacting the ultimate, irrevocable penalty.

As recorded by the Innocence Project, advances in DNA analysis have exonerated more than 200 convicted prisoners nationwide since 1989. The wrongful convictions often involved cases of mistaken identity. Police and prosecutorial misconduct were common. The odds are that many more innocent people are in prison for crimes they did not commit and for whom there is no DNA to analyze.

In Houston, the Police Department crime lab's incompetent testing of all kinds of evidence — combined with false testimony — tainted hundreds of cases, placing their convictions in doubt.

Tuesday the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to decide whether lethal injections are cruel and unusual and therefore unconstitutional. Critics allege the injections can cause great agony, but the drugs paralyze the prisoner before he can protest.

In an earlier case, Justice John Paul Stevens informed a deputy attorney general from Florida that the drug cocktail used by her state and all the others — sodium thiopental, pancuronium bromide and potassium chloride in various dosages — would not be allowed to be used to euthanize cats and dogs. In a California case, a member of the American College of Veterinary Anesthesiologists testified that those drugs were soundly rejected by his peers and would be very likely to cause pain in animals.

With lethal injections suspected of being cruel and unusual and therefore unconstitutional and unjust, it is inappropriate for Texas to proceed with executions until the court has ruled. A spokeswoman for Gov. Rick Perry, however, said executions in Texas would continue, as the cases under review affect only Kentucky.

That is a narrow and mean view of justice. Do the governor and the members of the Board of Pardons and Paroles wish to look back on a series of cruel and possibly illegal executions carried out under a legal cloud?

Death row inmates about to be executed committed their crimes 15-20 years ago. Where is the harm in postponing executions for a few months until the court makes its ruling? After executing more than 400 people since 1977, Texas can afford to wait.


Anonymous said...

Lethal injection is cruel and unusual punishment? So is shooting your parents in the head with a gun. I'll bet they would have liked a reprieve too but didn't get one. How can anyone justify being against the death penalty for cases when the guilt is absolute? People feel sorry for them but they brought it on themselves. What about their victims that had NO choice in the matter?

Anonymous said...

The anonymous poster stole my thunder. This guy gave no reprieve when he shot his parents, his freakin parents, in the head! Why should I as a taxpayer have to continue to feed, cloth, and shelter this scum?

Funny, he says glory to God for his reprieve. I imagine that if God really has anything to do with anything that he would want to see this guy as soon as possible.

Anonymous said...

The only problem is it took this long to get him to the table. I have no sympathy for a man who had no sympathy for the life of his parents. He's worried about pain? What about the pain his parent's felt. For those who feel sorry for him, what if those where your parent's?

Unknown said...

Did his mom and dad go through any pain? He needs to die, less people I have to pay for as long as it is proven in court and he or she is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. He was living at home after they were shot. They lost their right to live so should he. The supreme court is wrong in this case. Oh poor murderer, might hurt. Give me a break.

Anonymous said...

The injection might hurt?!! What a crock! Why not just shoot him in the head several times like he did his parents? Maybe we should give that as an option. One can be punished in the same manner as the crime they committed.

Anonymous said...

Oh, my gosh!!!!! What is wrong with you poeople. On what grounds is it okay to kill your parents, drag then out into the garage and then go and entertain friends. Tell me, how many of you people on the Suprem Court or otherwise would be okay with this?? I don't believe in death for any and every little, petty crime out there but, that fact that we let these killers sit in a air conditioned, heated, clean cell, 3 squares a day, able to be bathed and have communication to the outside world while his parents recieved a death sentenc that they did not deserve. If this young man was 19 when he commited this hanous act, and then we let him live already to 27, that is an awful diservice, waste of too many resources and his lawyers were given more than ample time to figure out if he was done wrong. From where I see things, he was not done wrong we as the tax payers are being done wrong by spending our tax dollars on sick scum like him yet, we argue the basis of spending our money to support the troops that are fighting for our freedoms that Mr.Turner is not fit to enjoy. Was he concerned about whether his parents were in pain when he killed them and left them to die in their garage?? Then why should I be concerned with whether he is in pain when he is give a death with consideration. I say that death by lethan injection is too human for killers, of any kind. Maybe it is time to get some new Supreme Court Judges. Death that is committed without proof of an accident should always result in the death penalty LAW!

Hooman Hedayati said...

I wish you people would have been brave enough to login with your real user names and don't post under anonymous.

Also it would be much better if you were a little more respectful with your posts and also did some research. Non of the Texas death-row inmates are living in air conditioned cells. Where they live in is more similar to small cages with no air condition or even TV (which you might even like). So if you want these people to live in hell, Texas death-row is probably the best you can get. living on death-row with 23 hours a day alone is not fun.