"Would a jury find state of Arizona guilty of murder?," is EJ Montini's latest column in the Arizona Republic. Here's the beginning:
There are 14 aggravating factors the state of Arizona can use to convince a jury to impose a death sentence.
One of the most popular – if that is the right word – is No. 6, which reads: "The defendant committed the offense in an especially heinous, cruel or depraved manner."
(It's what the Jodi Arias sentencing trial will focus on.)
If a jury believes that the manner in which a defendant killed someone fits No. 6's rather broad description then the state of Arizona can kill him. Or her.
It's a huge decision, which is why we make sure it is made by an impartial, independent group of citizens.
But what happens if the way we killed a killer also fits the description of aggravating factor No. 6?
Pacific Standard posts, "Death Row in Arizona: Where Human Experimentation Is the Rule, Not the Exception," by Ted Scheinman.
Jan Brewer, the governor of Arizona, has offered rosy declarations about the integrity of her state’s execution protocols. “Justice was carried out today,” she announced after the gasping, snorting, two-hour execution of Joseph Wood on July 23. The process that day took so long that Wood’s attorneys found time, during the second hour of the jerky proceedings, to file a stay against an execution that had already begun. With typical sangfroid, Brewer dismissed chilling accounts offered by witnesses to the execution, saying simply: “Inmate Wood died in a lawful manner, and by eyewitness and medical accounts he did not suffer.”
Still, as the Arizona Department of Corrections continues its internal review of the Woods execution, including the possible contamination of the two drugs used that day (midazolam and hydromorphone), watchdogs of various stripes are assessing the historical credibility of the state’s chemical doings.
The emerging picture is a nightmare—the portrait of a state and its malleable “execution protocol” that allows presiding doctors and prison administrators shocking latitude in choosing where to stick their needles, and what those needles will contain.
Earlier coverage of Arizona's botched execution begins at the link.