So it looks as if the death penalty is at least suspended across the US. Good.
The highest criminal appeals court in Texas delayed an execution yesterday in a signal that even the most avid supporters of the death penalty in America are concerned that lethal injections are too cruel.
The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals stayed the execution of Heliberto Chi, a convicted murderer, after his lawyers raised questions about the "constitutionality" of injections.
Texas, which executes far more criminals than any other state, had previously ignored the growing concern but yesterday\’s decision brings it into line with the US Supreme Court, which announced last week that it would review the legality of lethal injections. State prosecutors have 30 days to respond.
I\’m agin the death penalty (for the same reason I am abortion and euthanasia: you can kill someone in the course of a Just War or in immediate self-defense. not otherwise) so this is from my point of view good news.
But not a solution. The lethal injection was introduced because it was thought less cruel than the other methods, some of which fell foul of the ban on cruel and unusual punishment. The new evidence is that it might not be all that not cruel and unusual. For example, the difficulty of finding a vein (really, who would have thought it when the vast majority of those on Death Row are drug addicts?). Also, to be near painless, the drugs have to be administered professionally. But, err, no doctor will carry out an execution. Well, not and remain a doctor.
So they\’re at something of an impasse: they\’ve not got a non cruel method of execution.
I really don\’t know what\’s going to happen in the long term. I can\’t see that the blood lust of some who call fo executions won\’t find a way to deal with this. Someone will recommend bringing back the noose I\’m sure.