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October 16, 2007

Even a volunteer can't get executed because of Baze

As covered by media links at How Appealing and this post at CDW, the Nevada Supreme Court prevented a condemned inmate who wished to be executed from being subject to lethal injection.  Here are details from this local news coverage:

Death row inmate William Castillo seemed "very disappointed" Monday night that the Nevada Supreme Court canceled his execution about 90 minutes before he was scheduled to have a lethal injection. "He asked if it was possible to get more medication to calm him," Nevada Department of Corrections Director Howard Skolink said of Castillo's reaction. "He wanted something to take the edge off."

The court convened at 4 p.m. to hear arguments and about 7 p.m. stayed the execution and gave the American Civil Liberties Union and the state attorney general 20 days to file briefs regarding the ACLU's last-minute request that the execution method is unconstitutional because the drugs masks the inmate's reaction, denying news media the First Amendment right to report the actual effects of the injection.  The ACLU petition came on the heels of a U.S. Supreme Court review of the constitutionality of lethal injection methods in a Kentucky case.

Lee Rowland, the ACLU coordinator in Northern Nevada and the lawyer who argued the case, termed the decision "clearly correct legally and morally."...

"The elderly relatives of the victims had hoped for closure, and they didn't get it tonight," Skolink, who told media of the court's decision, said at the prison in Carson City. "The inmate had prepared himself for the execution, and now it will be at least 60 days before he's going to know what happened to him."

Castillo was sentenced to death for the tire-iron beating of Isabelle Berndt, 86, a teacher who lived in Las Vegas.  His female accomplice is serving a term of life with parole.  Two of Berndt's elderly relatives had driven to the prison, were told of the cancellation and never went inside.  Skolink said Berndt's family said they were going to ask the state supreme court and ACLU for their travel expenses for a "trip that need not have been made."

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October 16, 2007 at 08:48 AM | Permalink


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Yeah, the trip by Berdnt's relatives "need not have been made" if they weren't eager to satisfy their bloodlust by watching our government exact Hammurabian justice by killing an unarmed, defenseless human being.

Don't the conservatives always prattle on about the US being a Christian nation? I mean, yeah, I know we're definitely not -- see the Founders, that treaty, etc -- but their mental gymnastics here have me befuddled.

What was it that Jesus Christ said about cheeks? Turn them? Nah, I think it was "when thine cheek hath been slapped, slap the muthaf*cka back, hard."

Posted by: anti-federalist | Oct 16, 2007 9:59:56 AM

Anti-fed: You clearly don't understand the Bible. Forgiveness and justice are two different things, which are both supported by God.

Posted by: Steve | Oct 16, 2007 12:21:44 PM

Steve, Clearly it is YOU that does not understand the bible. I objectively understand the bible and what it means. To second-guess me means that you are using god’s word for your own devices which is unacceptable. This is fact and cannot be argued with.

Posted by: S.cotus | Oct 16, 2007 1:32:37 PM

Hey anti-fed, keep criticizing victims' families who want a lawful sentence carried out--see how far that advances your cause.

Posted by: federalist | Oct 16, 2007 1:53:40 PM

Oh, and there's that good old - "And if any mischief follow, then thou shalt give life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand" (Ex. 21:23, 24)

Posted by: JustClerk | Oct 16, 2007 2:23:13 PM

Victims’ families can be used for just about any political purpose. Without too much digging you can find one who will “call for” just about anything.

And while we are on the subject, why not complain about the “victims” of the government’s dalliances with informants? Sure, the courts might have found that they missed a statute of limitations to sue under 1983, but there seems to be very little concerned for them?

What about the “families” of the victims of mistaken (or even correct) extraordinary rendition?

And what about the “families” of people sent to jail? Is it because most of them are poor and even if their parents were home they would be losers anyway, these children don’t deserve families. (I am comfortable saying that, I hope other people are, as well.)

And, of course, some families of victims don’t have the political blood-lust that is popular with people that bait non-lawyers. Some of them correctly (or blasphemously) understand the bible when some Jew told people to turn the other cheek.

Posted by: S.cotus | Oct 16, 2007 2:54:59 PM

Hey "JustClerk," I believe Exodus predates Jesus Christ. Y'all conservatives are [for the most part], CHRISTians, right? Funny how you seem to prefer the OT to the actual words and teachings of Christ, whom you (and Robertson and Falwell, Hagee and company) generally ignore.

Posted by: anti-federalist | Oct 16, 2007 3:51:39 PM

So to be Christian and conservative, I can only believe in half the bible?

Posted by: JustClerk | Oct 17, 2007 8:34:34 AM

Of course not. But where the OT and the words of Christ conflict, you'd think you *Christ*ians would prefer the teachings of JC.

Turns out, you don't. I just find that interesting. And for a political party that constantly drones on about fostering a "culture of life," it's pretty hilarious to see y'all drooling at the chance to have the state kill our citizens.

Posted by: anti-federalist | Oct 17, 2007 8:49:27 AM

Anti-fed, there is a clear and obvious distinction between executing murderers and killing unbord babies. That you cannot distinguish the two is telling. It is perfectly reconcilable to be in favor of capital punishment and opposed to the killing of unborn children.

Posted by: federalist | Oct 17, 2007 10:51:40 AM

First - there are no definitive passages from the New Testament which indicate that Christ opposed the death penalty. The references to turn the other cheek and similar statements were made to individuals. Those same values, condeming personal vengeance, are contained in the Old Testament.

Moreover, Romans 13:1-7 talks about the fact that the government doesn't bear its sword in vain. If nothing else, the fact that Paul chose to use the term sword supports a view that capital punishment was still approved of in the New Testament.

Posted by: JustClerk | Oct 17, 2007 1:22:27 PM

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