Thursday, July 24, 2014

Another botched execution in the US

Another US execution has gone horribly wrong:

The controversy engulfing the death penalty in the United States escalated on Wednesday when the state of Arizona took almost two hours to kill a prisoner using an experimental concoction of drugs whose provenance it had insisted on keeping secret.

Joseph Wood took an hour and 58 minutes to die after he was injected with a relatively untested combination of the sedative midazolam and painkiller hydromorphone. For more than an hour, he was seen to be “gasping and snorting”, according to an emergency motion to halt the execution, filed by his lawyers.


One eyewitness, Michael Kiefer of Arizona Republic, counted the prisoner gasping 660 times. Another witness, reporter Troy Hayden, told the same paper that it had been "very disturbing to watch ... like a fish on shore gulping for air."

This is pretty clearly cruel and unusual punishment, and hence unconstitutional. The question now is whether the US judiciary can admit that, or whether America's addiction to judicial murder will outweigh the facts and the law.