Saturday, May 3, 2008

"Playing Catch-Up" With Executions

As predicted following last month's lethal injection ruling by the Supreme Court, here come the executions.

After Hiatus, States Set Wave of Executions:

Less than three weeks after a United States Supreme Court ruling ended a seven-month moratorium on lethal injections, at least 14 execution dates have been set in six states between May 6 and October.

“The Supreme Court essentially blessed their way of doing things,” said Douglas A. Berman, a professor of law and a sentencing expert at Ohio State University. “So in some sense, they’re back from vacation and ready to go to work.”

Experts say the resumption of executions is likely to throw a strong new spotlight on the divisive national — and international — issue of capital punishment.
However, some on the pro-death penalty side welcome the news and such new scrutiny.

“We’ll start playing a little bit of catch-up,” said William R. Hubbarth, a spokesman for Justice for All, a victims rights group based in Houston.

“It’s not like we have a cheering section for the death penalty.” Mr. Hubbarth said. But, he added: “The capital murderers set to be executed should be executed post-haste. It’s not about killing the inmate. It’s about imposing the penalty that 12 of his peers have assessed.”

Whatever that means. Predictably, the state of Georgia is rushing to become first in the union to resume executions now that the moratorium is over.

I also found it humorous that the inmate they chose to interview in the article about his impending execution in Texas was "Jack Harry Smith, who, at 70, is the oldest of the 360 men and 9 women on Texas’ death row" and has been on death row for 30 years.

“If it’s my time to go, it’s my time to go,” said Mr. Smith, who maintains his innocence and was delivered by guards for a prison interview in a wheelchair.

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