No easy way to kill Jun 15, 2006 16:10:35 GMT -5
Post by Anja on Jun 15, 2006 16:10:35 GMT -5
No easy way to kill----Court ruling puts Alabama's execution method in
The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday didn't stop Alabama or any other state
from executing convicted criminals with lethal injections. But it did
reopen debate on that specific method of capital punishment. And it
probably has given 193 inmates on Alabama's death row longer futures - and
advocates of swifter executions more to be upset about.
What the high court ruled - and ruled unanimously - was that those facing
lethal injection have the right to file last-minute challenges, saying
lethal injections violate the constitutional prohibition of cruel and
As a practical matter, this further delays the execution of a Florida
prisoner who has been legally fighting for life for some 24 years.
Alabama executions may also be delayed as appeals stretch out for years
because of the Supreme Court's decision.
While further delays are the surest result from the ruling, those on
either side of the capital punishment argument have extrapolated their own
consequences from the court's position.
Death-penalty opponents say the decision should ignite discussion about
the sentence's constitutionality, morality and effectiveness as a
They obviously hope the decision will help the United States join other
advanced nations in repealing the death penalty.
Proponents, on the other hand, are frustrated by the prospect of the
lengthy time between sentencing and executions growing even longer.
Alabama Attorney General Troy King, a strong death-penalty supporter, sees
all sorts of legal shenanigans - objections about the width of needles,
the types of gurney restraints, the qualifications of attending medical
personnel (the latter issue prevented a recent California execution) -
diverting the courts ad infinitum.
Ironically, Alabama moved from other methods to lethal injections in hopes
of bolstering the death penalty's legal standing. It's a more humane way
of carrying out capital punishment, advocates suggested, than frying them
In truth, there's no easy way to kill people. But there's also no
quick-fix ruling the U.S. Supreme Court is going to issue when matters of
life and death are at stake. The fact that the most conservative court in
recent memory unanimously rendered this most recent opinion underscores
It's inevitable, at some point, that capital punishment is going to die a
legal death in this country. Too many societal and historical forces are
aligned against it. In the meantime, the current uncertainty pleases no
one - except condemned prisoners who see another opportunity to delay
their death sentences.
(source: The Huntsville Times)