« Uncertainty over status of Texas executions | Main | Texas executions back on track »

May 17, 2006

FindLaw commentary on Hill case

Over at FindLaw at this link, Professor Sherry Colb has a commentary on the Hill case, entitled "Retribution Without Cruelty: The Supreme Court Considers an Eighth Amendment Challenge to Lethal Injections."  Here are some highlights:

However the Court rules on Hill's chosen approach to challenging his particular sentence, the issue of whether death by lethal injection violates the Eighth Amendment prohibition against cruel and unusual punishments is ripe for decision.  Arguments over the legitimacy of lethal injection, moreover, raise a still more fundamental question of what we mean to do when we "punish" a heinous murderer for his crimes....

Regardless of what the Court decides, however, we will continue to be guilty of unforgivable hypocrisy in the administration of our criminal justice system, as long as we pretend that we are engaged in something humane even as the toll of suffering and pain -- hidden in plain sight -- continues to rise, unabated.

Some related posts:

May 17, 2006 at 07:30 AM | Permalink


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference FindLaw commentary on Hill case:

» Blog Round-Up - Thursday, May 18th from SCOTUSblog
A new blog, called Rapanos Blog, has been set-up to discuss Rapanos v. United States. The Volokh Conspiracy comments here. Concurring Opinions has this post titled, "The Price of Discrimination: After Fair v. Rumsfeld." Concurring Opinions also has thi... [Read More]

Tracked on May 18, 2006 9:28:22 AM


Professor Colb has a movie goer’s perspective of prison, but I do agree with her denouncing of the death penalty as hypocritical. I spent more than 15 years in federal prison and did not hear of a single rape, there were some fights and some slashing with razor blades all involving, gambling or drugs and of course the television channel. But I also spent 8 years in the U.S. Marines and did not see any significant difference between the two except for the confinement to base, there was still the gambling and drugs and of course the drunks fighting.
Prisoners can more readily be broken down into those who hope to one day be released and those without hope who become institutionalized; that is decide there entire existence will be in this prison and find there action inside the four walls or fences; this is a small percentage of the entire population. It had been my experience that the majority of prisoners have some hope of release, either through new court rulings or through parole or good time, all of which are slim hopes, but hopes just the same. Years in prison is not the hard part most would think, it is the days, for every day seems to drag, but the years go by, and hope is what allows prisoners to see the outside as a place they will return.
Whether prison wardens or other administrative officials will admit it, hope is what keeps the prison violence to a minimum, for if you have 75 inmates per guard, who have all given up hope of release, they would be unmanageable. As it stands most prisoners do not want to add to their sentences or the family’s miseries by committing a new crime in prison, so they obey the rules with a hope of some early release.
And finally to the death penalty, most of those on death row do not see their demise as immediate and also have hope of a reprieve of some kind. Sure there are those who have given up hope and are truly dangerous, but most could abide by the rules in general population. Is there a way to administer the death penalty that would not be cruel, certainly not, but unusual punishment would probably include administering drugs to kill, for I am sure the founding fathers would have found such a concept unusual. I don’t know of a way of killing that could be considered usual, I therefore must side with those who find the death penalty to barbaric for the twenty-first century, where advances have been made in every area of life, but the penitentiary and death remain as they have for 200 hundred years, the vengeance of society on wrongdoers. The children of the future should seek modern methods of restitution for victims, not the archaic stone walls and tombs of the past.

Posted by: Barry Ward | May 17, 2006 2:18:43 PM

Colb parallels various studies and first person discussions on the topic. She is just not getting her info from Shawshank Redemption.

I dare to suggest many prisoners and Marines would disagree somewhat on your comparison. Also might some state prisons be different?

Posted by: Joe | May 20, 2006 7:56:07 PM

Post a comment

In the body of your email, please indicate if you are a professor, student, prosecutor, defense attorney, etc. so I can gain a sense of who is reading my blog. Thank you, DAB