The State of Ohio executed a murdering rapist a couple of days ago—this past Thursday, January 16th to be exact, and it didn’t go well. As a result, the anti-death penalty crowd is having a field day.
Let me make my death penalty position perfectly clear; as long as a conviction is an evidentiary slam-dunk based on unambiguous direct evidence, I am indifferent to imposing a death sentence. But when it comes to executing people, it pays to be cautious!
I emphasize this point because irrefutable evidence supports the fact that juries are not always on their best game, and some prosecutors are not immune to letting their emotions trump reasonable doubt.
According to the Death Penalty Information Center (DPIC), as of October 25, 2013, this country had witnessed 143 exonerations in 26 states. If you break them down by year, they averaged 3.03 per year from 1973 through 1999 and 4.29 per year from 2000 through 2013.
However, the Ohio case WAS a direct and conclusive slam-dunk. And while I have no qualms over his receiving a death sentence, I do have concerns over the way it played out. But even so, I think the negative speculation is a bit premature.
Until we see a medical examiner’s official autopsy report regarding this execution, we can’t know whether the man remained aware (conscious) once the drugs took effect.
And while it certainly looked ugly, we don’t yet know whether his gasping and snorting were the involuntary results of electrical impulses trying to make their way back to an unresponsive brain, or whether they were, indeed, the results of man in the conscious throes of suffocation.
But regardless, our Constitution provides for the execution of inmates who have been duly convicted of qualifying crimes. But it also mandates that such executions be humane.
The State of Ohio did not set out to include torture as part of its execution protocol. But if an autopsy concludes that the lethal chemical combination didn’t prevent it from happening, they’ll have to find one that will prevent it in future cases. Otherwise, the United States Supreme Court will force the issue.
I also fully understand the nature of the anger that many people express in these matters, and—at least in this country—they’re free to voice their opinions, including implying an “eye-for-an-eye” or a “kill-in-kind” criminal justice mentality.
But unintended consequences notwithstanding, NOTHING justifies the usual horde of 2-digit IQ blog and news report website commenters that typically scurry out from behind society’s darkened kitchen baseboards bursting with bloodlust.
And while it was bad enough that most of them hooted and hollered an aggregate approval of “apparent” cruelty, still others bemoaned the absence of even MORE of it. SICKENING!
I refuse to believe that the bulk of the 60% of Americans, who either favor a death penalty (or are indifferent to one), fit the above mold. They—WE, actually, I include myself here—don’t object to righteous executions as long as they don’t turn UGLY.
This dude was a human manifestation of a colostomy bag bursting at the seams. But the social bellowing over the way this execution may have played out had NOTHING to do with sympathy for the man executed and EVERYTHING to do with seeming violations of Constitutional mandates.
So, I have no qualms over proclaiming that any society choosing to execute its condemned prisoners at the same level of savagery shown by murdering scum, is no better than the psychopaths who commit the crimes.
HOWEVER, once juries rightly convict defendants of capital crimes, and judges issue death sentences, it should not take decades to carry them out. Here’s a PERSONAL case in point, and it’s not an isolated one.
On January 3, 1979, a blob of human dung, Robert Lee Massie, robbed and murdered Boris Naumoff, a California liquor store owner (and good friend of mine).
The sovereign State of California finally executed the bastard on March 27, 2001. I followed the exploits of his trek through California’s criminal justice system for 22-years, 2-months, 23-days, 23-hours, and 19-minutes… right up to the moment they pronounced him DEAD from a lethal injection.