It is a sad and tragic day in America, as the United States Supreme Court has decided that it’s time to start killing more of our brethren.
According to msnbc.msn.com, executions that have been on hold since September, could resume shortly.
The Supreme Court ruled 7-2 in a case from Kentucky that the lethal injection protocol used to execute convicts does not create a substantial risk of severe pain and therefore is constitutional. The approved process utilizes an anesthetic to render an inmate unconscious, followed by a paralyzing drug that halts breathing and by a third chemical that stops the heart.
Many condemned prisoners, however, contend in lawsuits that the process lacks safeguards to make sure the anesthetic is effective, creating the risk that the inmate will remain conscious and in agony while dying – and because of the paralyzing drug, they will be unable to physically cry out
NOT CRUEL OR UNUSUAL
A majority of the court said the possibility that the anesthetic could fail does not amount to cruel and unusual punishment, even if other procedures exist that might reduce the risk that an inmate will suffer pain.
Courts cannot function as “boards of inquiry charged with determining ‘best practices’ for executions” and should avoid “scientific controversies beyond their expertise,” Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in his lead opinion. He said the courts would be justified in intervening only if an inmate could show that a method of execution presents a “substantial risk of severe pain,” and that the state could easily avoid that risk.
WHAT ABOUT IN CALIFORNIA?
The Supremes ruling for the time being cleared the way for executions to resume in states like Alabama, Mississippi and Texas. But there’s still a question as to what the status on executions in California will be. A federal judge’s ruling has already forced the state to overhaul its lethal injection procedures and build a new execution chamber and another judge has told the state to seek public input before changing its rules.
California has the nation’s largest Death Row, with 669 inmates. But executions have been on hold since February 2006, when the courts granted a stay to Michael Morales, convicted of raping and fatally beating 17-year-old Terri Winchell of Lodi in 1981. Prosecutors say four or five other condemned prisoners have lost their appeals and are in line to be executed after Morales.
THERE WILL ALWAYS BE PAIN
Noting that “some risk of pain is inherent in any execution,” Roberts said a state doesn’t have to adopt any alternatives that would diminish the likelihood of pain, only those that would significantly reduce a substantial risk of severe pain and can be readily implemented.
The Constitution bars only execution methods that are “objectively intolerable,” and procedures that states widely use will generally pass that test, the chief justice said.
Roberts rejected arguments by the Kentucky prisoners also advanced in the California case – that the three-drug combination poses an unconstitutional risk of pain because there is an alternative. That alternative would be a single, massive dose of the sodium pentothal anesthetic already used in lethal injections, which could kill a prisoner painlessly but take longer than the current procedure.The paralytic drug used in executions, pancuronium bromide, serves only to mask the pain of a conscious prisoner and is barred in most states in euthanasia on animals, the inmates’ lawyers said.
But Roberts said states are not required to switch to untested methods, such as one-drug executions. He said veterinary standards are “not an appropriate guide to humane practices for humans.”
But killing them, and possibly inflicting them with unbearable pain while they are paralyzed and unable to ask for help, is. Way to go Supremes!!! Just missed again.