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Friday, May 30, 2014

Screwing Up State Murder--and Halting it

Update:  Federal judge in Ohio halts all executions there to allow study of lethal injection issues. 

Earlier: Good Mother Jones piece on the new uproar after the botched Oklahoma execution--focusing on the "incompetents" and ethically challenged individuals who administer lethal injections.  Excerpt below.  I will not that important history and background on all this is found in my recent ebook on the death penalty, Dead Reckoning, and my book with Robert Jay Lifton, Who Owns Death?
Historically, lethal injection has been plagued with problems just like those that occurred in Lockett's case, and they are due in large part to the incompetence of the people charged with administering the deadly drugs. Physicians have mostly left the field of capital punishment; the American Medical Association and other professional groups consider it highly unethical for doctors to assist with executions. As a result, the people willing to do the dirty work aren't always at the top of their fields, or even specifically trained in the jobs they're supposed to do. As Dr. Jay Chapman, the Oklahoma coroner who essentially created the modern lethal injection protocol, observed in the New York Times in 2007, "It never occurred to me when we set this up that we'd have complete idiots administering the drugs." 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hmmm. I suppose he was counting on a thoughtful, caring State that kills its own citizens to hire only competent executioners. Turns out the States do no better than Obama and the wedding party.