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November 7, 2015

A citizen's notable (and radical?) suggestions for improving the Ohio execution process

Yesterday I received an interesting e-mail from an Ohioan styled as a "letter to the editor" and which I received permission to reprint here:

Dear Mr. Berman,

In reference to the PD article "Ohio in quandary over how to resume executions " (Oct 24) about lethal-injection drugs, I would like to comment.

Since I live in Ohio, I would like to address our execution dilemma. Allow me to suggest an alternative to lethal injection.

I am disappointed to see the failure of execution cocktails that have taken an half an hour or more to end a prisoners life.  Although the suffering of these dying criminals does not seem unfair.

But I would like to solve -- once and for all -- the problems with inefficient lethal drugs. Let's make execution less painful for us all.  As an alternative to drugs, we simply use the Red Cross method of donating a pint of blood, but using a 20 ounce bag to hold all of a person's blood, resulting in a complete draining of all blood for a quick and painless eternal sleep.  

I call this the 'Total Blood Withdrawl' execution.  I wrote the protocol for this method.  Maybe Red Cross can use the blood.

Let's use this transition method to a day when there will be no more executions.

Sincerely,

Brian Taylor

I have no idea if this plan for "Total Blood Withdrawal" would actually produce a "quick and painless eternal sleep." But given that officials in Ohio and elsehwere seem unwilling and/or unable to come up with viable alternatives to problematic lethal injection protocols, I am pleased to highlight here that even average citizens are eager to offer alternative execution methods for consideration.

November 7, 2015 at 10:08 AM | Permalink

Comments

Good thinking, which should be encouraged.

But do you know how the executioners botched the IV with a small needle, where, the infusion went into the tissue, instead of into the vein, and the death took a half an hour, and we had yet another false excuse to stop executions?

To extract blood requires a much larger bore needle, big veins, pumping of fists, etc. And then, we know it will get botched. When that happens, not if that happens, we will then have the spectacle of blood draining all over the room, pictures surreptitiously taken, then going viral on the internet.

We could insert a long needle into the big vein returning to the heart, but it is inside the chest, and the person would really have to know anatomy.

I have proposed an alternative. That is, send prison guards to venipuncture school for a few weeks. Have them volunteer as EMT's. They would practice infusions. They would get to start IV's on people still inside crashed cars, and would get really good at it, quick at it, and able to manage very difficult situations.

That idea is too easy and self evident for the lawyer.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Nov 7, 2015 10:30:58 AM

Brian also proposes not wasting the collected blood. One could also propose harvesting viable organs, in which case the execution could place professionally by a surgeon, in an OR. The condemned would have to be tissue typed, and tested for communicable diseases in his bloodstream.

Obstacles to saving many lives, and making the condemned feel more redeemed. (The utilitarian arithmetic is very high, but the lawyer is anti-utilitarian. It is pro worthlessness and rent seeking.)

1) A nuclear war would erupt by the pro-criminal lawyers over the conflict of interest.

2) The US would be hauled in front of international tribunals.

3) The Supreme Court would never allow it, being pro-criminal, and anti-utilitarian to the extreme.

4) The public is not even ready for the presumption of donation by licensed drivers. That means the driver must check a box saying, I do not want to donate my organs. If the box is not checked on the license, the organs are donated to the 50,000 people dying each year waiting for organ donation.

The Supremacy has proposed such presumptive donation, and the use of the Kelo decision to take organs when suitable. In Kelo, only the word, property, was used over 100 times, never real property. Property experts have all agreed that Kelo covers chattel, such as a corpse.

When the Supremacy has proposed this to doctors, they threatened to beat him up, and the Supremacy had to leave. "You touch my mother's eyes, I will kill you," doctors lost their composures. I am not discussing the stupidity or the rent seeking of the medical profession. It is bigger, more intractable, and more lethal than that of the lawyer profession, if that is possible. One difference is that they are crazier and more violent than the lawyer. Their indoctrination taught them it is OK for them to enter a living human body, so they emerged truly warped.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Nov 7, 2015 11:09:19 AM

Given that many of the problems associated with overlong executions are due to delivery problems (not getting a good IV whether due to inexperience of the staff or even vein problems with the condemned) I don't see how this suggestion would go very far to solve that end of the problem (accepting for the sake of argument that there even is a problem).

Posted by: Soronel Haetir | Nov 7, 2015 11:52:27 AM

Brian also proposes not wasting the collected blood. One could also propose harvesting viable organs, in which case the execution could place professionally by a surgeon, in an OR. The condemned would have to be tissue typed, and tested for communicable diseases in his bloodstream.

Obstacles to saving many lives, and making the condemned feel more redeemed. (The utilitarian arithmetic is very high, but the lawyer is anti-utilitarian. It is pro worthlessness and rent seeking.)

1) A nuclear war would erupt by the pro-criminal lawyers over the conflict of interest.

2) The US would be hauled in front of international tribunals.

3) The Supreme Court would never allow it, being pro-criminal, and anti-utilitarian to the extreme.

4) The public is not even ready for the presumption of donation by licensed drivers. That means the driver must check a box saying, I do not want to donate my organs. If the box is not checked on the license, the organs are donated to the 50,000 people dying each year waiting for organ donation.

The Supremacy has proposed such presumptive donation, and the use of the Kelo decision to take organs when suitable. In Kelo, only the word, property, was used over 100 times, never real property. Property experts have all agreed that Kelo covers chattel, such as a corpse.

When the Supremacy has proposed this to doctors, they threatened to beat him up, and the Supremacy had to leave. "You touch my mother's eyes, I will kill you," doctors lost their composures. I am not discussing the stupidity or the rent seeking of the medical profession. It is bigger, more intractable, and more lethal than that of the lawyer profession, if that is possible. One difference is that they are crazier and more violent than the lawyer. Their indoctrination taught them it is OK for them to enter a living human body, so they emerged truly warped.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Nov 7, 2015 11:55:33 AM

An extraordinary decision to post this fantasy suggestion. You almost had me convinced it was April 5th !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Next you will be inviting suggestions from Hannibal Lecter.

Posted by: peter | Nov 7, 2015 12:15:42 PM

peter. Brian Taylor is one of yours, an abolitionist.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Nov 7, 2015 3:36:24 PM

Part of the point of this post, peter, was to showcase the kind of reactions that come from (average?) members of the public when they reflect on the remarkable government dysfunction that the modern capital punishment system produces. Folks who follow the system closely and have context for all its legal ups and downs often cannot even understand how ridiculous the system appears to those on the outsite. This letter, in my view, is an interesting kind of commentary on the sorts of reaction some will have to the current state of affairs in Ohio. Moreover, the fact that this idea got Supremacy Claus all excited also strikes me as telling.

Finally, peter, it is a telling commentary on modern mass entertainment that Hannibal Lecter is a folk hero. And perhaps Brian Taylor (or Supremacy Claus) is really Mr. Lecter in disguise. ;-)

Posted by: Doug B. | Nov 7, 2015 4:09:15 PM

I've misplaced S.C's home address. Anyone have it?

Posted by: Hannibal | Nov 7, 2015 6:25:55 PM

Prof. Berman. Aren't you on some Ohio sentencing advisory board? You can make a contribution by bringing up the subject of sending prison guards to venipuncture school, to comply with the Eighth Amendment prohibition of cruelty in punishment.

Again, I am here doing the work of the death penalty defense bar. This demand would not be pretextual, nor obstructionist, but substantive. It would make the deaths of the condemned easier and would reduce the likelihood of what you termed, a botched execution. I call it a slower but not more cruel or painful execution. Enough of the sedative in the infiltrated tissue reached the brain, and the person was unconscious throughout the entire procedure.

In response to your comment, you are such a card. And I get the inside joke. Hannibal Lecter was a doctor, of course, a psychiatrist. The bunker in the basement methodology of serial killing was inspired by a local serial killer in Philadelphia. And you will think yourself even funnier, once I discuss that case privately.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Nov 7, 2015 6:42:14 PM

Hannibal. You know me. I have always supported public self help to end the problem of crime. I would help you with your problem, as the criminal justice system never has. Promise. No muzzle. No straps. No rolling chair.

By the way, have you checked off your donor box on your license?

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Nov 7, 2015 10:45:37 PM

Though an old Straight Dope column discussed the flaws, I think the "use heroin" approach a tad more realistic. There has been one or more USSC cases taken for oral argument alone regarding problems with use of needles (on drug users etc) for this to be that realistic as a fail safe option. As a blood donor, I can say that even though it basically goes smoothly each time, over the years even I had a problem now a then donating a pint. And, reveal, I'm not an IV drug user or someone as unhealthy as some of these people.

Posted by: Joe | Nov 8, 2015 12:32:58 PM

Though an old Straight Dope column discussed the flaws, I think the "use heroin" approach a tad more realistic. There has been one or more USSC cases taken for oral argument alone regarding problems with use of needles (on drug users etc) for this to be that realistic as a fail safe option. As a blood donor, I can say that even though it basically goes smoothly each time, over the years even I had a problem now a then donating a pint. And, reveal, I'm not an IV drug user or someone as unhealthy as some of these people.

Posted by: Joe | Nov 8, 2015 12:32:59 PM

Method of execution arguments are probably the least important issues in all of criminal sentencing. Who dies matters. How long people who don't die are punished matters. The conditions under which people who are incarcerated endure matters. How people die matters very little.

Posted by: ohwilleke | Nov 9, 2015 6:23:46 PM

One can debate these things various ways but how people die does matter a decent amount. Often, criminal sentencing disputes can matter little relatively speaking -- the term of years at issue might not matter because the person has such a long sentence anyways so a reduction won't really matter. A very painful death might matter more than that. Some people do care a decent amount how they die. It's not overly trivial. Finally, painful punishments and death are at the very core of what the 8A was passed to address.

Posted by: Joe | Nov 10, 2015 1:06:52 AM

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