The New York Times Taking Note blog posts, "Why the Death Penalty Is Doomed," by Jesse Wegman.
Alex Kozinski, a federal judge on the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, has gone on the record saying he is “generally not opposed to the death penalty.” But his opinion in a recent case may nevertheless find itself in the history books one day — in the section explaining why the death penalty in America finally ended.
"An Agonizing Execution," is by Serge Schmemann for the New York Times Sunday Review.
CNN Opinion posts, "Botched executions can't be new norm," by Megan McCracken and Jennifer Moreno.
Four men -- Michael Wilson, McGuire, Clayton Lockett and Wood -- have been subjected to bungled executions this year. Although the drugs, doses and other details of the procedures differed in each execution, the commonality between them is that the departments of corrections used experimental drug combinations and shielded crucial aspects of their practices in secrecy.
Even in the aftermath of the executions, the lack of transparency continues. While governors in both Oklahoma and Arizona have called for reviews of the problematic executions, no outside authorities have been brought in to conduct the investigations.
Internal investigations are insufficient to the task. Departments of corrections cannot be allowed to provide pat explanations that leave central questions unanswered, minimize errors and hide relevant information about what went wrong.
"Death penalty becomes cruel and usual: Column," is by James Alan Fox, a regular USA Today contributor.
The Eighth Amendment to the Constitution prohibits punishments deemed to be cruel and unusual, a standard to which capital punishment does not rise, at least according to the U.S. Supreme Court. But with yet another botched execution, the third over the past six months, the cruelty is becoming pretty usual.
It was disturbing enough that the state of Arizona last week took nearly two hours to execute convicted double-murderer Joseph Rudolph Wood, during most of which time he appeared to witnesses to be gasping for breath and grunting in pain. To me, however, equally disturbing is how many people rejoiced over the poor excuse for justice.
"Let's look at the death penalty with statistics instead of emotion," is Scott Martelle's post at the Los Angeles Times Opinion LA blog.
The details matter. In Ohio, Dennis McGuire was seen writhing and gasping as his execution took place, after a doctor warned that the planned dosage of midazolam would not be sufficient to render McGuire unconscious to the point where he would not suffer from the ensuing injections. McGuire reacted pretty much the way the doctor warned he would, struggling to breathe from "air hunger." Still, Arizona decided to use that very same protocol this week in executing Joseph Wood. We know how that went, nearly two hours in all, including hundreds of gasps for breath, as reported by journalist witnesses.
"Arizona pays the price for execution secrecy," is by Mark White, the former Texas governor, in the Arizona Republic.
But for now, Arizona faces the consequences of a culture of secrecy that has enveloped its political leadership. Leading up to the botched execution of Joseph Wood, the state refused to provide information about the origin and safety of the drugs to be used and also refused to provide information concerning the training and skill of the personnel involved in carrying out the execution.
The Washington Times publishes, "A conservative case against the death penalty," by columnist Drew Johnson.
The death penalty is an affront to all we hold dear as conservatives and libertarians. It is a disastrous policy that fails at its goal of preventing crimes, it wastes taxpayers' hard-earned money, it has almost certainly been responsible for killing innocent Americans and it empowers government with the authority to kill its own citizens.
"The Death Penalty Is Big Government At Its Worst," by Casey Given at the Daily Caller.
Death row defendants may offer other options like the firing squad as a solution to lethal injections’ ills. However, no alternative can shorten the drawn-out appeals process that inevitably arises in each death row case. Be it by lethal injection, firing square, or a hangman’s noose, the death penalty will leave victims’ families waiting years for closure. The more humane solution to relieve suffering, save tax dollars, and keep the state’s monopoly of violence in check is to sentence convicted killers to life in prison, where they will spend the rest of their existence living with the agony of their crime. Isn’t that punishment enough?
"A modest proposal: Let our executions match our rhetoric," by Michael Bazemore in the News & Observer of Raleigh, North Carolina.
The botched execution this week in Arizona of a convicted murderer who spent nearly two hours gasping for air as he died is just one more reason to question the whole enterprise of capital punishment. It is morally untenable.
The Toronto Star posts, "The U.S. is one lousy executioner," by Heather Mallick.
When a nation kills its own citizens — even the incontrovertibly guilty — it steps deep into the moral mire, so deep that it isn’t better than any other country, as it claims.
Earlier coverage of Arizona's botched execution begins at the link.