Monday, December 17, 2007

Lethal Injection, the Eighth Amendment and New Jersey

Today, New Jersey Governor Jon S. Corzine signed into law a bill that will replace the death penalty with life imprisonment without the chance of parole. The New Jersey Death Penalty Study Commission Report found capital punishment "inconsistent with evolving standards of decency"."

"It's time New Jersey got out of the execution business. Capital punishment is costly, discriminatory, immoral and barbaric. We're a better state than one that puts people to death." -- Assemblyman Wilfredo Caraballo

Considering Lethal injection is the preferred method of execution in 36 out of the 37 states that still allow the death penalty, the statement "inconsistent with evolving standards of decency" is dead on...this drug cocktail of choice is not exactly a "humane" procedure.

Inasmuch as one of the lethal drugs injected paralyzes the condemned, the pain the prisoner experiences is undetectable to everyone except the person being executed...how convenient! People killed by lethal injection have been known to linger as long as two hours, an eternity when every minute probably feels like a millennium. Although, state sanctioned execution is so cloaked in secrecy that if not for a ruling in California, no one would know the little we know now about the barbaric conditions that many times exist when "we" end a life using this homicidal mixture .

Lethal injection, requires the injection of three chemicals, Sodium thiopental to anesthetize, Pancuronium bromide to paralyze, and finally Potassium chloride to devitalize. Why use three chemicals when one chemical would not only make this procedure more "merciful" but make it more efficient as well? Could it be we are projecting? We hope that by punishing and killing the evil person who committed such a heinous crime, we are also punishing and killing off that part of ourselves who given the right circumstances may be able to commit the same crime.

Hopefully, New Jersey's decision will signal the US Supreme Court - January 7, 2008 - to rule that lethal injection violates the Eighth Amendment which prohibits cruel and unusual punishment.

"The most premeditated of murders, to which no criminal's deed, however calculated can be compared." -- Albert Camus

"It is the deed that teaches, not the name we give it. Murder and capital punishment are not opposites that cancel one another, but similars that breed their kind." -- George Bernard Shaw

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