February 18, 2007
Readings for Feb. 21 on execution methods
BUMP & UPDATE: Please consider starting our discussion of these readings (which will kick into gear Wednesday 2/21) with some comments here.
- Roberta M. Harding, The Gallows to the Gurney: Analyzing the (Un)constitutionality of the Methods of Execution, 6 Boston University Public Interest Law Journal 153 (Fall 1996): Download constitutionality_of_methods_of_execution.rtf
- Brian P. Hill, Judicial Response to Changing Societal Values on the Death Penalty: must the Method Chosen Be the Most Humane?, 7 St. Thomas Law Review 409 (1995): Download societal_values_on_the_death_penalty.rtf
Accompanying these reading they asked to pose the following questions:
1. What do you think about the Court's view that instantaneous death equates to painless death?
2. How do you feel about the theory that society's current values shape the acceptance/rejection of capital punishment and how this relates to current and past Constitutional methods of execution?
As they explained to me, "we plan to go over the information contained in the law journal articles and also plan to discuss past methods of execution and current Constitutional methods. We also plan to discuss the current debate surrounding the Constitutionality of lethal injection."
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Response to question 1:
As a practical matter, I disagree with the Courts conclusion that instantaneous death equates to painless death. Just because death is instantaneous does not mean that the individual did not experience several minutes or seconds of extreme pain before actually expiring. The Courts' conclusion would lead one to believe that those minutes or seconds of excruciating pain do not matter in the scheme of things. I wholly disagree with this conclusion. If the goal is to make death painless, then alternatives can be viewed that might not necessarily be quick in application. Some methods of execution are instantaneous, however, the assumption should be made that those methods are also painless. Those methods should be called what they are: quick and painful.
Posted by: Nichelle P. | Feb 20, 2007 3:06:09 PM