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October 11, 2007

The latest lethal injection news

As this new NPR piece highlights, it is still not clear whether the Supreme Court's consideration of the Baze lethal injection case will halt all states from carrying out executions.  The NPR piece, entitled "States Still Planning Lethal Injection Executions," highlights that Georgia has recently scheduled two execution dates for later this month (previously discussed here).

In addition, StandDown Texas Project has a great round-up here of various other developments on the lethal injection front.  All this uncertainty and state-federal craziness draws me back to this post from 18 months ago in which I urging Congress to be more proactive in trying to deal with all the lethal injection messiness.

Some recent related posts:

UPDATE: The Miami Herald provides an update on developments in Florida in this article entitled "Court weighs fairness, secrecy of executions."

ANOTHER UPDATE:  Over at Capital Defense Weekly, Karl Keys has this terrific post providing a "rough thumbnail sketch of the rest of this year's scheduled executions."  The post concludes with this summary: "Long story short, stays in light of Baze are possible, and believed to be likely, for all the currently scheduled execution dates through Christmas save Monday's scheduled date of [execution volunteer] William Castillo in Nevada."

October 11, 2007 at 09:44 PM | Permalink


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» Lethal Injection – die Lage in Florida from Keine Todesstrafe - No Death Penalty
Am Donnerstag waren Anhörungen vor dem Florida Supreme Court hinsichtlich der Lethal Injection in Florida. Eine Anhörung war im Falle von Mark Dean Schwab (38), welcher am 15. November in Florida hingerichtet werden soll. Schwab war wegen der Entfüh... [Read More]

Tracked on Oct 15, 2007 4:02:28 PM


I hate to say it, but while influential professionals such as yourself continue to sit on the fence over the question of the death penalty, apparently preferring to bury your head in the minutiae of legal precedent and argument, rather than making - clearly, loudly, and frequently - the bold statement that the death penalty system is broken and no longer in the interests of America law, others too will be encouraged to hedge their political and legal judgments in favor of popular irrational and emotional support for the status quo - however unfair, unbalanced, and frankly outrageous, in today's climate of supposed democracy, civilization and progress. Where are the stand bearers for justice today? An unfair question, since there are many. Unfortunately their efforts are undermined by indifference and prevarication on the part of influential others. Come off the fence.

Posted by: peter | Oct 12, 2007 5:13:49 AM

Let me echo and endorse peter's very respectful observation.

Let me add that in my experience the vast majority of defense attorneys who challenge the death penalty and prosecutorial abuse of it never forget the pain of the victim's survivors or the tragedy of the victim's life. Professor Berman, your occasional references to defendants and their attorneys paying mere "lip service" to the victims overlooks the reality that many victims, fairly or otherwise, detest any expression of sympathy as insincere efforts to develop mitigating evidence. What you may deem "lip service" or insensitive silence about the victims' plights is actually respectful regard for their feelings -- and not infrequently compliance with instructions/requests conveyed (or initiated) by prosecutors that the victims oppose any expression of sympathy from those horrible defense attorneys.

Posted by: OMG | Oct 12, 2007 10:13:35 AM

The death penalty is well-supported by the American people despite a constant barrage of negative propaganda from the abolitionist side. We need to use the death penalty more. More and more research is suggesting that it is a deterrent. Plus, it is simply the right thing to do. A person who murders another human being has forfeited his right to live. It's that simple.

Posted by: federalist | Oct 12, 2007 12:09:13 PM

Peter provides us with a sterling example of the zero tolerance for any deviation from orthodoxy so prevalent on the political left in America today. How dare you have a different opinion, Professor Berman?! Get the tar and feathers!

Posted by: Kent Scheidegger | Oct 12, 2007 1:10:26 PM

I, for one, recognize how difficult the death penalty issue is. For a long time, I was uncertain on the issue. Ultimately, I came to the categorical conclusion that the government killing people (outside of war, and only then when absolutely necessary) is fundamentally wrong. (For that reason, I also tend to think there is no 8A problem with capital punishment, but instead it should be abolished by the legislature). But I am not foolish enough to chastize those who disagrees with me as being irrational.

For that reasons, I do not agree with abolitionist who allege that pro-death penalty individuals are only showing an "irrational and emotional support for the status quo." I also just find it so simple-minded when proponents of the death penalty make unsupported comments like "[i]t's that simple."

You can feel strongly that one side or the other is correct, but at least be wise enough to realize that nothing is simple about this issue.

Posted by: DEJ | Oct 12, 2007 1:31:19 PM

From a moral standpoint, which is what I was getting at, capital punishment is quite simple, and certainly a lot simpler than the vast majority of issues that crop up in society (tax rates, bilingual education, welfare eligibility, public transportation, juvenile justice). There are two questions: (1) do you believe that someone who murders "deserves" death and (2) do you think it something within our power to inflict. These are not complex issues at all.

What makes capital punishment hard are the rules imposed on society by our robed masters, rules which flow not from the Constitution but rather from squeamishness about killing. But I was not talking about that. And I think that clear from my post--or perhaps I am just too simple-minded to get the nuance from my own post.

Posted by: federalist | Oct 12, 2007 1:48:13 PM

federalist, from a moral standpoint capital punishment is not simple, and your assertion of it being so is quite narrow-minded. And what makes it difficult is far from what judges say. It's the third step -- the one you left out -- which is most difficult. For even if I answer the two question you pose in the affirmative, one must still inquire: (3) should we inflict it?

Posted by: DEJ | Oct 12, 2007 3:30:51 PM

(3) is difficult to answer, given the gobbledygook (er, 8th Amendment jurisprudence) imposed by the courts, but very simple in the abstract

Posted by: federalist | Oct 12, 2007 4:14:45 PM

The death penalty is sort of like the death tax as opposed to the estate tax. Same thing-- but different words to describe it. The Gallup polls change with the question asked. We should speak clearly. We are killing a human being in the name of the state. That is you and I.

I believe that, right after conviction, we should task the foreman of the jury with shooting the defendant in the head. In front of God and every one. The decision of the 'death penalty' will be brought home to those who impose it and those who love or abhor murder. If we are in the game of killing in the name of the people or for example: 'United States of America vs. Timothy McVeigh', then we should televise the murder on national TV. Maybe during half-time at the Superbowl. If this 'death penalty' is so civilized, then why not show our kids how civilized we are? Why hide it? Lethal injection: killing us softly?
Sqeamishness about killing. If you are going to be a bear, be a grizzly. We are a society and a nation that chooses to kill in the name of justice. We should not mince words.

Posted by: | Oct 17, 2007 2:53:15 AM

I sign on to the above message.

Posted by: M.P. Bastian | Oct 17, 2007 2:55:51 AM

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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