"Why The US Should End the Death Penalty," is the Washington Post editorial.
The death penalty in the United States is in crisis for many reasons. Most states now use injected drugs to kill death-row inmates, and those drugs are in short supply as European manufacturers attempt to distance themselves from U.S. executions. States have been left to concoct novel combinations of sedatives, anti-convulsants and anesthetics and administer them without the help of professionals, who object to state-sponsored life-taking.
Meanwhile, a major reason the country has moved away from antique-seeming execution methods — firing squads, hanging, the gas chamber and the electric chair — toward lethal injection is that intravenous poisoning is less unpleasant for the public. The nation has moved from treating executions like attractive public spectacles to being disgusted by the act of purposely ending a human life.
The Sunday Arizona Republic published the editorial, "Sure, THIS will be a thorough investigation."
The state prisons director says he's committed to a thorough review of Joseph Rudolph Wood's excruciatingly long execution.
But in the same breath, Corrections Director Charles Ryan says the execution was not botched. "The evidence gathered thus far supports the opposite" conclusion, he said in a prepared statement.
So, just how thorough and comprehensive will Ryan's review of the execution be? Excuse us if we have no confidence it will be anything more than a whitewash.
"Arizona should stop executions," is the Tucson Sun editorial.
The Arizona Attorney General’s office has announced it will not issue any warrants of execution until authorities finish reviewing why it took nearly two hours to kill a convicted double-murderer by lethal injection using a controversial drug combination.
The uproar describing the execution as “botched” and “inhumane,” is a good time to consider our state’s position on capital punishment.
The answer should not be to search for a more “humane” way to kill a person.
"Problems with execution drugs must be solved," in Tennessee's Knoxville News.
The death penalty expresses society's legitimate outrage at heinous crimes, and it brings finality to the perpetrators of those crimes and some sort of closure to the survivors. But in a civilized society, if the death penalty cannot be administered properly to those guilty beyond a doubt, it should not be administered at all.
The Baltimore Sun publishes, "Another botched execution."
The Supreme Court declined to intervene in Wood's case, agreeing with a lower court that he had no First Amendment right to know more details about the composition and origin of the drugs that would be used to kill him. But after his botched killing and the three before it, the court surely has a duty to revisit its conclusions from the Baze case. When more than 15 percent of the executions conducted so far this year have resulted in prolonged deaths and/or evident suffering, does that not rise to the level of "substantial risk of serious harm"? When the next condemned prisoner makes an Eighth Amendment claim, can the justices be so sure that such problems would represent an "isolated mishap"?
"Capital punishment," in the Bergen Record in New Jersey, which abolished its death penalty.
There are many reasons to oppose the death penalty, among them a lengthy and costly appeal process and the all-too-real possibility of a defendant being wrongly convicted. But the most compelling reason has nothing to do with time, cost or the availability of lethal drugs: The death penalty is morally wrong.
"Another botched execution in the US," in the Fitchburg Sentinel & Enterprise of Massachusetts.
"A better way," in the Daily American of Somerset, Pennsylvania.
Earlier coverage of Arizona's botched execution begins at the link.