[Deathpenalty] death penalty news----USA, OHIO
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Fri Feb 1 16:52:48 CST 2008
UM researchers say lethal injection could violate Eighth
Amendment----Study suggests lethal injection causes unnecessary pain
INSTRUMENTS OF DEATH: UM researchers say execution by lethal injection
could violate the Eighth Amendment.
A death row inmate is given a fatal dose of chemicals, but the
excruciating pain, suffocation and burning sensation associated with the
toxins will be masked by an anesthetic.
Or, maybe it won't. A study published in May 2007 by Teresa Zimmers and
Leonidas Koniaris, two researchers at the University of Miami Miller
School of Medicine, suggests the use of lethal injection to execute death
row prisoners may be violating the Eighth Amendment, which protects
against cruel an unusual punishment.
"[Before conducting the study] my colleagues and I, like most Americans,
thought the lethal injection was like a medical procedure and therefore
painless," Zimmers said. "We were very surprised to discover that there is
substantial proof of pain."
Lethal injection, the most common form of execution in the United States,
is currently considered to be the most humane form of capital punishment.
Zimmers and Leonidas' research shows that in 43 out of 49 lethal injection
executions, not enough painkiller was administered, and inmates were fully
aware of their suffering.
The researchers also discuss multiple problems with the lethal injection
procedure, including a lack of training for the people who administer the
serum and poor regulation of the process.
"There is a fairly entrenched opinion among prison officials that the
current protocol is fail-safe, and if administered correctly, will result
in a painless death," Zimmers said.
The use of lethal injection is now being reviewed by the Supreme Court.
The review began on Jan. 7, four years after two death row inmates from
Kentucky sued the state claiming that death by lethal injection violates
Though the court is focusing on defining the acceptable amount of pain
allowed under the Eighth Amendment, some Supreme Court justices are not
too worried about inmate suffering.
"This is an execution, not a surgery," said Supreme Court Justice Antonin
Scalia, refuting arguments that lethal injection causes "an unnecessary
risk of pain."
The two inmates are asking to be euthanized, which is the same procedure
used to put down pets. This method would render the inmate unconscious and
induce death within a few minutes.
Many states are refusing to change their protocol, including California,
Florida and Texas.
"If you change, you are admitting that there was something wrong with the
prior method," said Professor Deborah Denno, an authority on methods of
execution as Fordham University to the New York Times. "All those people
you were executing, you could have been doing it in a better, more humane
Nevertheless, 14 states plus the District of Columbia have abolished the
Out of the remaining 37 states that allow the death penalty, including
Florida, only Nevada demands that inmates be executed by electrocution.
The Supreme Court's ruling on lethal injection is not expected until June
"Lethal injection as a form of execution is flawed and cannot be fixed,"
Zimmers said. "There are so many flaws at so many levels. It would be
better if it was discontinued."
-Approximately 3,350 people are on death row in the U.S. Of these, 2
inmates have received the death penalty for a non-homicide crimes,
although no one in the U.S. has been executed for a crime other than
murder since 1964.
-The last time the Supreme Court considered the humanity of the death
penalty was in the case of Willie Francis, a Louisiana inmate sentenced to
death in 1945. He was strapped into the electric chair and shocked, but
somehow survived. He pleaded for his sentence to be commuted in the
Francis v. Resweber case, but the court ruled that it was a technical
malfunction and the state could attempt again. Francis was successfully
executed in 1947 at the age of 17.
(source: University of Miami Hurricane)
Is the death penalty an effective crime deterrant?
There does seem to be evidence that the death penalty acts as a deterrent
to some people and for that reason it should be available to judges. In
the UK the death penalty for murder was abolished early in the 1960s.
Since then, murder has gone from being almost unheard of to being a daily
affair, so routine as to be hardly newsworthy.
It is true that the crime rate had been slowly rising before the death
penalty was abolished, but the explosion of violence since has been quite
extraordinary. Not all of the increase can be attributed to abolition, of
course, since society itself has changed a great deal. However, the
absence of the death penalty has meant that no criminal, sexual pervert or
street punk needs to worry about what he does. The worst penalty will be
jail, with time off for 'good behavior'!
There will always be the deranged few who will kill without thought of the
consequences. No penalty will deter them. There will also be 'crimes of
passion', carried out in the heat of the moment. Consequently, a mandatory
death penalty may not be best. If people know that a judge has it within
his or her power to impose a capital sentence, but need not if there are
mitigating circumstances, it will be sufficient to give some wrong doers
pause for thought. Actually hanging a few of the worst offenders would do
even more. Almost as importantly, it will do something to encourage the
long suffering, law abiding, majority.
The argument that it is uncivilized for the State to resort to killing its
citizens might be more persuasive if there was any evidence that abolition
produced a more civilized society. Sadly, in the UK the very opposite
seems to be indicated. Judicious and measured use of force as a last
resort seems to be necessary and beneficial.
The Liberal do-gooders in the UK have decided smacking a child as a last
resort, to correct bad behavior, is tantamount to child abuse and worthy
of prosecution. Unsurprisingly, bad behavior and delinquency are on the
increase. The same do-gooders have decided guns are bad. No Briton can now
legally own a hand gun. Gun crime has not fallen, it has increased
massively. Criminals are the only armed people routinely on the streets.
They do not need to fear ordinary citizens being able to defend
themselves. Most of our Police remain unarmed as well. Needless to say,
the do-gooders are vigorously opposed to any attempt to reintroduce the
Whatever you do, do not be led down the same street as we have; it leads
(source: Mark Hopkins, Helium)
By no means is the death penalty a deterrant let alone an effective
deterrant for crime. It won't be a deterrant for crime, not for a very
long time. We've had the death penalty in this country for a very long
time yet, it hasn't deterred people from committing various crimes. There
are numerous crimes deemed punishable by the death penalty which vary from
state to state along with federal crimes deemed punishable by the death
Murder at the highest grade is deemed punishable by the death penalty.
Treason and sedition are deemed punishable by the death penalty.
Kidnapping is punishable by death in Georgia. It says that trainwrecking
leading to death is punishable by death in Idaho, Kentucky, and South
Carolina. In California, perjury leading to a person's death is punishable
by the death penalty. Aggravated rape is punishable by death in certain
states. In the military, desertion, treason, and rape are all punishable
by death under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ).
We have execution methods let alone execution itself that should deter
people from committing heinous crimes. But, does that stop people? No.
Though lethal injection seems to be the most "humane" way to be executed,
there are other methods deemed barbaric according to groups such as
Amnesty International. Which I have to agree.
Alabama - Inmate can request electrocution in place of lethal injection.
Arkansas - Inmate can request electrocution or lethal injection.
California - Inmate can request the gas chamber in place of lethal
Florida - Inmate can request either electrocution or lethal injection.
Idaho - Firing squad if lethal injection is "impractical."
Illinois - They can request electrocution.
Missouri - Inmate can request lethal injection or lethal gas.
Nebraska - Electrocution only.
New Hampshire - Hanging if lethal injection doesn't work.
I know these methods would deter me from ever committing a senseless act
or murder and such. But it hasn't stopped other people from committing all
these crimes. People still murder other people, people still rape other
people, people still kidnap other people, and so forth.
At a national level, people still betray this country. People in this
country join other countries that are deemed "enemies" of the current
United States Government. People in this country committing all sorts of
acts of treason, espionage, etc. You can execute one person from
committing a bunch of murders(s), but it's not going to bring those people
back from the dead. Plus, death is the easy way out. They die in this
world and pass onto the next world.
One could say that the person executed is going to burn in the fiery
depths below. But we really don't know if that place exists or not. It may
apply to Christianity, but it doesn't apply to other faiths. Atheism don't
believe in that place. Scientologists don't believe in that place. We
really can't say that the person is going to suffer after the execution.
Ok that person is gone, what about the next person that commits those
crimes? I know pro-death penalty advocates are going to say "we execute
that person, too." But it's going to get redundant. How many people are we
going to have to put on death row for these people to get the picture and
stop committing acts of murder, treason, and what not? A harsher
punishment is needed. There are fates far worse than death. You can only
kill a person once. Once that person's dead, s/he stays dead.
If the person was executed because of a rape charge, it's not going to
alleviate the trauma inflicted upon the victim(s). With treason, your
secrets are already in the hands of the enemy; damage has already been
done. Crime is still a problem and the death penalty hasn't proven to be a
In retrospect, the death penalty isn't a good deterrant. From what I
learned, performing death penalties can get pretty expensive. So with each
execution performed, taxpayer dollars are cannibalized that could go forth
to programs for improving life and the government.
Think about it this way, government runs low on funds, they can't carry
out executions anymore.
(source: Can Tran, Helium)
Capital punishment: Why death doesn't equal justice ----This title has 10
articles. Click here to see all the articles rated and ranked by Helium
The purpose of this essay is to show that Walter Berns is incorrect in his
argument that capital punishment is appropriate for some crimes. In his
essay, "Capital Punishment: It is Appropriate for Some Crime Crimes,"
Berns argues that capital punishment is justifiable because of humanity's
ability to be angry at past misdeeds and want revenge, it is a deterrent
to crime and if the U.S. government can ask its inhabitants to give their
lives for their country, it has a right to execute criminals.
I disagree with Berns' argument because it simplistic, rabble rousing, and
sophomoric. Capital punishment is not morally right because it not morally
right to take a life regardless of the circumstances. In particular, the
justice system in America is inherently flawed and is geared towards the
majority and the wealthy. It has no right to cast judgments of life and
death upon its citizens. Gone are the days of Old West justice when one
could be hung for any perceived offense and capital punishment should be
Bern's argument believes that anger is a major factor in why capital
punishment is justified. Righteous anger, black rage and other
manifestations of anger is good according to Berns because this anger
incites people to demand blood justice for murders, rapes, and other
crimes committed. If one is condemned to death, he or she should go to his
or death with dignity and that murderers have no dignity to be saved and
deserved to die.
He also stated that capital punishment is morally necessary because anyone
who commits murder deserves to die and gives Macbeth's eventual murder by
Macduff in Shakespeare's play as an example. He feels that vengeful men
deserve justice for crime committed towards them and the moral order of
society would be upset if capital punishment did not exist. He eventually
concludes that the United States is a much better place since capital
punishment's reinstatement because in the murder of murderers, its citizen
The death penalty has been used in the U.S. since its inception and the
rules and regulations concerning it have changed over time. Currently
thirty-eight states in the United States allow crimes to be punished with
a death sentence and is only given to those who commit heinous crimes,
usually involving murder. Methods include lethal injection, electrocution,
gas chambers, firing squads, and hanging but lethal injection is the most
common. Berns and according to research, the majority of Americans feel
that capital punishment is a good idea. I, however am opposed for many
reasons. There are some who believe that capital punishment discourages
crime and that the fear of dying will scare individuals out of committing
heinous crimes. This hypothesis has proven not be truthful. Research has
shown that the United States has the highest rate of murder in the
developed world and is the only country in the developed world that
utilizes capital punishment. Capital punishment is obviously not a
deterrent to some in this country.
Capital punishment is also very expensive. According to
deathpenaltyinfo.org, the state of Florida would save $51 million each
year by punishing all first-degree murderers with life in prison without
parole. These statistics are based on the 44 executions Florida has
carried out since 1976, which amounts to an approximate cost of $24
million for each execution.
Capital punishment has also proven to be used unfairly with serious racist
undertones. African Americans who kill whites are sentenced to death much
more often than whites who kill African Americans. Also according to
deathpenaltyinfo.org, over a five year period in Georgia, 20.1% of those
sentenced were blacks who killed whites, while only 2.9% were whites who
killed blacks. Blacks receive harsher sentences when they are on trial for
murder but their lives are not given value when they are the victims.
The major problem with capital punishment is the chance that someone
innocent will be executed or faced with execution. Capital punishment is
permanent and leaves no room for mistakes which are bound to happen.
Illinois ex-Governor George Ryan imposed a moratorium on the state's death
penalty because of flaws in the system. In an interview given to CNN in
2000, Ryan stated, "We have now freed more people than we have put to
death under our system; 13 people have been exonerated and 12 have been
put to death." He also stated that, "There is a flaw in the system,
without question, and it needs to be studied."
There are no positive reasons for capital punishment. You cannot punish
someone with the exact crime that you are punishing them for. It has not
proven itself as far as deterring murderers. This punishment risks the
lives of innocent people and the justice system is too inherently flawed
to hand out death sentences like candy.
(source: Cathy Henry, Helium)
Death penalty sought in Ohio fire----Grand jury indicts teenager in
Youngstown blaze that killed 6
A grand jury handed up a 29-count indictment yesterday of Michael A.
Davis, the teenager accused of killing 6 people by burning down a house,
and prosecutors will seek the death penalty.
Mr. Davis -- who turned 18 in December, making him barely eligible for the
death penalty in Ohio -- is charged with aggravated murder in causing the
deaths of four children, ages 2 to 8, their mother and grandmother in a
Jan. 23 fire. He picked up four additional charges for aggravated murder
of a juvenile under 13.
All 10 murder counts came with a death penalty specification.
"It's a tragedy that this act occurred," said Mahoning County Prosecutor
"We have to address it. I think that especially these young people have
got to be made to realize that there are consequences for their actions.
And in this case, these are the most serious of consequences."
Killed were Carol Crawford, 46; her daughter, Jennifer R. Crawford, 23;
and Jennifer's children, Ranaisha, 8, Jeannine, 5, Alisha, 3, and Brandon
Mr. Davis, who was arrested the day of the fire, also is charged with 19
counts of aggravated arson for the 11 people in the house -- 5 of whom
escaped -- and 8 injured Youngstown firefighters. The most seriously
injured firefighter received 5 stitches.
Investigators have said the arsonist poured an accelerant on the front
porch, causing the two-story wood house to burn quickly.
A possible motive for the arson was a stolen cell phone. After Mr. Davis,
who lives around the corner from the Crawford home, lost his phone he
called the number and one of the people in the house, not one of the
deceased, answered it, authorities have said.
Mr. Davis' court-appointed lawyer, Martin Yavorcik, said this week that
Mr. Davis is illiterate but understands that he will face the death
If Mr. Davis is convicted of any of the murder charges but the jury does
not find for the death penalty specifications, Mr. Gains said, Mr. Davis
would face a sentence of 25 years to life, 30 to life or life without
"As swift as this indictment came out and as swift as the investigation
was done," Mr. Gains said, "it's pretty much proof positive that we're not
taking any of these charges lightly."
(source: PIttsburgh Post-Gazette)
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