Drip by drip, U.S. support for execution wanes

From Friday's Globe and Mail Update

WASHINGTON — It took so long to kill Christopher Newton that they had to give him a bathroom break.

Mr. Newton was sentenced to be executed by the state of Ohio last May for murdering a fellow inmate in a dispute over a chess game. But he was a big man, and his executioners had trouble finding a vein in which to inject the lethal cocktail. It took 10 tries, almost two hours and a trip to the john before they finally managed to kill the man. Witnesses said Mr. Newton remained quite cheerful through it all.

Joseph Clark was not so patient. His execution last year by the same state lasted an hour and a half — it should have only taken 20 minutes — again because the executioners had difficulty finding a usable vein. At one point Mr. Clark pushed himself up and declared, “It don't work.” He even pleaded, “Can't you just give me something by mouth to end this?”

The Supreme Court agreed this week to consider whether execution by lethal injection in its current form constitutes cruel and unusual punishment, and is thus a violation of the Eighth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

Although the court's term begins Monday, it is unlikely to hear arguments until January or February, with a ruling due by summer. During that time, lawyers representing condemned inmates across the United States will argue for a moratorium on capital punishment.

Their arguments cut little ice in states like Texas, which executes prisoners with positive enthusiasm. Texas executed Richard Bird Tuesday, hours after the court announced its decision to review the constitutionality of lethal injections. But in Alabama, an execution scheduled for last night was stayed yesterday.

Even a partial moratorium resulting from the court's review will contribute to the slow, steady, merciful decline of capital punishment in the United States.

“It's no longer a question of whether the United States will abolish the death penalty; it's a question of when the United States will abolish the death penalty,” argues David Elliot of the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty. “The death penalty is simply withering away.”

Executions are on the wane in the United States. Fifty-three people were put to death last year, compared with 98 in 1999. Acquittals of condemned prisoners through DNA evidence, recent court rulings that banned the execution of minors and the mentally handicapped, and concern over the humaneness of lethal injections — by far the most common form of execution — have led to formal or informal moratoriums in many states. Thus far this year, only 10 states have performed executions, all in the South or Midwest. Twenty-six of the 42 people put to death were in Texas.

The concern over lethal injections goes beyond the problem of insufficiently skilled executioners. (Doctors and nurses are professionally prohibited from killing anyone.) Critics maintain that the drugs mask what could be agonizing deaths.

Typically, the person to be executed is given three drugs from a team operating outside the execution chamber: sodium thiopental, to sedate him; pancuronium bromide, to induce paralysis; and potassium chloride, better known as road salt, to induce cardiac arrest.

Critics maintain that the sedative typically begins to wear off shortly after it is administered. If that is true, the second drug that paralyzes the victim would make him able to feel pain but unable to communicate that he is awake. If so, the injection of the potassium chloride would cause excruciating pain.

The case before the court, brought by lawyers on behalf of Ralph Baze and Thomas Bowling, who are sentenced to die in Kentucky, does not ask the court to prohibit lethal injections entirely. (If it did, surely all other forms of execution, from electrocution to hanging to gassing to firing squad, would also be deemed unconstitutional.)

“This case is about whether using chemicals or a procedure that creates a known risk of pain and suffering violates the cruel and unusual punishment clause when the chemicals and procedures could be replaced with alternatives that cause less risk of pain and suffering,” declares the plaintiffs' petition to the court.

Even if the court were to declare that some other form of lethal injection should substitute for the current one, however, the consequences would be significant. Although the laws differ from state to state, many states would be required to pass legislation authorizing the new form of execution — legislation that, in at least some states, might fail to pass.

Most observers believe that, as in so many rulings, the court is divided 4-4 on the issue, and that Mr. Justice Anthony Kennedy will cast the deciding vote.

Whatever the court decides, Mr. Elliot is convinced that the number of executions will steadily decline over the next 15 years to something approaching zero.

“Maybe we'll have one or two executions each year, just to prove that we still can,” he speculates.

In which case, it will still be one or two more than occur anywhere else in the civilized world.


Our commentary in the Globe and Mail September 28, 2007

  1. You (Ottawa Mens Centre.com, from Ottawa -Home of corrupt family court judges., Canada) wrote:

    1- There is something worse than death by lethal injection, its an endless death without end, its what happens to thousands of fathers across Canada every year who cannot see their children. The fathers are repeatedly arrested on trumped up criminal charges.

    Tragically the injustices cause many to kill themselves simply because they can't stand the suffering any longer. Every year in Canada, more fathers kill themselves than there are victims of HIV or AIDS. The epidemic of suicides is really capital punishment. Who kills these fathers? Feminist lawyers with an apparent pathological hatred towards men.

    You can read it in family court records. For example, the Kingston Ontario court records show that Kingston Feminist lawyer Lesley Kendall did not like an order of a Sudbury Judge, Justice W.G. Beatty who ordered an expedited trial of custody. Justice Beatty made that decision because a lawyer Joanne A. Barber of Timmins Ontario made a false written submission that stated as fact the father admitted perjury. Such an admission was never made. The father was repeatedly arrested on trumped up criminal charges and the prisoners were told he was a pedophile. A jail guard on behalf of a local feminist agency threatened to kill the father personally. Relatives of a worker in the agency admitted multiple death threats but the local police responded by charging the father first with Perjury and when that trial ended in the father's father they then charged him with criminal defamation for basically the same "offence". Some of those charges were heard by Justice Guy Mahaffy of Sudbury. All charges against the father were dropped.

    - Continued in next post www.OttawaMensCentre.com 613-797-3237


    Posted 28/09/07 at 11:00 AM EDT


    You (Ottawa Mens Centre.com, from Ottawa -Home of corrupt family court judges., Canada) wrote:

    2- Cont- Justice Guy Mahaffy then issued 5 criminal charges against the mother. Because of that false written submission alleging an admission of perjury and the 5 criminal charges against the mother, Justice W.G. Beatty threw out a vexatious litigant order and ordered an expedited trial of custody without any request for such an order by the father.

    Now, Lesley C. Kendall knew the first order was obtained by fraud, she knew a judge of the Ontario Court had issued criminal charges against the mother for extreme violence. To get around that order for an expedited trial, she asked her friend Justice Robertson of Kingston to issue a restraining order banishing the father from Kingston Ontario Permanently simply to "stop him litigating" an expedited trial ordered by a judge.

    Lesley Kendall is well known for arranging her motions so that they are generally heard by Justice Robertson of Kingston. Lesley Kendal then fabricated an affidavit that the father threatened her personally when he simply asked her to vary the order to allow him to see a lawyer in Kingston to argue the motion. She refused. Justice Robertson instructed the court reporter to omit the relevant statements from the transcripts that would have showed no threat was made. Obviously Justice Robertson knew a criminal offence was committed by Lesley Kendall and ordered that the transcripts not include those statements.

    That happens a lot in Ontario. Lawyer Lesley Kendall of the Kingston Ontario firm Cunningham, Swan, Carty, Little & Bonham then gave her own false evidence while arguing for her client and knowingly presented the judges order that repeated the false written submission of Joanne A. Barber of Timmins that falsely stated the father admitted perjury. An admission of perjury totally destroys credibility. Lesley Kendall knew it was false and gave it to Justice Denis Power who issued a permanent restraining order forever banishing the father from Kinston.

    Cont see post #3 www.OttawaMensCentre.com


    Posted 28/09/07 at 11:16 AM EDT


    You (Ottawa Mens Centre.com, from Ottawa -Home of corrupt family court judges., Canada) wrote:

    3 Cont- COURT RECORDS show ,as a matter of public record - that the father brought the above mentioned allegations to the Ontario Superior Court of Justice in December 2006. Lawyer Lesley Kendall of the Kingston Law firm Cunningham, Swan, Carty, Little & Bonham FAILED TO DENY the allegations. Lesley Kendall knowing her fraud would be exposed, asked for the matter to be struck because the father had not paid $20,000 in court costs fraudulently obtained by Lesley C. Kendall. Justice Charboneau obliged but then he discovered what Lesley C. Kendall was up to.

    You see, Lesley Kendall asked for $6,500 in court costs, obviously inappropriate and Justice Charboneau refused to give it to her. The fact is, if you fail to deny a very serious allegation of fraud, its an admission. Lesley Kendall does not deny the original order was obtained by fraud, or that her own evidence was fraud, or that it was improper for her to argue her own evidence. When a complaint was made to Robert A. Little, managing partner of “Cunningham, Swan, Carty, Little & Bonham he responded by simply denying the allegations and that no further action is warranted. That is, Robert A. Little knows his own lawyer committed fraud and is not prepared to do anything about it.

    What makes it worse is that in January 2007, Lesley C. Kendall stated that the mother now had no objection to access with the child provided that the father pay $20,000 and supply a mental health assessment and a parenting course certificate both of which were repeatedly supplied to Lesley C. Kendall back in 2001.

    What feminists fail to realize is that for every man they put through endless death, they brutally abuse a little girl, a sister, a step mother, a grandmother. So it begs the question, why do feminist lawyers and feminist judges to put father’s through endless deaths? Why not just execute them for having the misfortune by accident of birth to be born with testicles between their legs? www.OttawaMensCentre.com 613-797-3237

    Posted 28/09/07 at 11:34 AM EDT

    It appears that this post got a reaction and someone caused the post to be removed. 

    You can read it here at www.OttawaMensCentre.com and of course all the other sites that love posting true stories like this one.  :)