The Day, in Connecticut, publishes, "Latest horror more reason to end executions."
After the 43-minute execution in June, this newspaper said the state should have the courage and consistency to outlaw government sanctioned killing in all instances, including those awaiting execution. Now, we have a new record in the barbaric state killing stakes, the horrible hour and 57 minutes.
Connecticut's 12 were grandfathered for execution, as it were, under a misdirected but understandable sympathy for the families of their victims, most notably Dr. William Petit, who aggressively sought death for the two who brutally murdered his wife and daughters in an invasion of their Cheshire home. More skeptically, we suspect there was some political calculation in not lifting the death penalty in the Cheshire case.
"Should criminal executions be banned?" is the Palm Beach Post editorial.
Arizona engaged in a failed experiment. Its new execution protocol called for administration of two drugs, midazolam and hydromorphone. The only other time this drug combination had been used was the prolonged and similarly disturbing Ohio execution of Dennis McGuire, who took 24 minutes to die and struggled for air for 10 to 13 minutes.
Eyewitness Alan Johnson reported that McGuire “gasped deeply. It was kind of a rattling, guttural sound. There was kind of a snorting through his nose. A couple of times, he definitely appeared to be choking.”
Faced with these well-documented problems, Arizona adopted Ohio’s procedure but increased the amount of each drug (from 10 milligrams to 50 milligrams for midazolam and from 40mg to 50mg for hydromorphone). The state refused to reveal, however, its process for selecting the new doses or whether it conducted due diligence to determine that its protocol would be more effective. Notwithstanding the changes Arizona made to the drug formula, Wood’s execution went even worse than McGuire’s.
"Botched executions demand an Indiana moratorium," is the South Bend Tribune editorial, in Indiana.
Indiana's switch to Brevital is because of a shortage of sodium thiopental. Indiana officials say that the powerful anesthetic, which is used in hospitals, is appropriate for executions. It would be part of a three-drug protocol, which also includes pancuronium bromide and potassium chloride. Department of Correction spokesman Doug Garrison says the decision was made after consultations with pharmacists, other states and other experts.
The company that makes Brevital strongly disagrees, arguing that the drug has never been used in lethal injections and isn't approved for that purpose.
Indiana's first execution since 2009 -- which could come later this year -- may proceed exactly as expected. The drug newly added to the protocol could act just as Indiana officials appear confident it will.
But there's a chance that the state will find itself in the same situation that Arizona faced just a few weeks ago, struggling to explain a bungled execution that many would define as "cruel and unusual punishment."
Earlier coverage of Arizona's botched execution begins at the link.