FEATURED POST

Texas Should Not Have Executed Robert Pruett

Image
Update: Robert Pruett was executed by lethal injection on Thursday.
Robert Pruett is scheduled to be executed by the State of Texas Thursday. He has never had a chance to live outside a prison as an adult. Taking his life is a senseless wrong that shows how badly the justice system fails juveniles.
Mr. Pruett was 15 years old when he last saw the outside world, after being arrested as an accomplice to a murder committed by his own father. Now 38, having been convicted of a murder while incarcerated, he will be put to death. At a time when the Supreme Court has begun to recognize excessive punishments for juveniles as unjust, Mr. Pruett’s case shows how young lives can be destroyed by a justice system that refuses to give second chances.
Mr. Pruett’s father, Sam Pruett, spent much of Mr. Pruett’s early childhood in prison. Mr. Pruett and his three siblings were raised in various trailer parks by his mother, who he has said used drugs heavily and often struggled to feed the children. Wh…

Ohio and the Death Penalty

Gov. John Kasich of Ohio postponed for a month the state’s next execution. The decision is an admission that Ohio’s management of the death penalty is broken and further proof that the machinery of death cannot be operated responsibly anywhere.

The governor made the postponement after a federal district judge in Ohio stayed another execution, when that death-row inmate argued that the state had repeatedly violated its own protocols for administering the death penalty. “It is the policy of the State of Ohio that the State follows its written execution protocol, except when it does not,” Judge Gregory Frost wrote in a legal opinion last month. The judge observed bluntly, “This is nonsense.”

To the judge, “Ohio’s execution policy now embraces a nearly unlimited capacity for deviation from the core or most critical execution procedures.” The state used to insist that its “written protocol” setting out those procedures had “the force of law.” In this case, the state presented the protocol as guidelines that could carelessly be “ignored.”

The opinion listed several important ways that Ohio has violated its own rules based on facts presented to the court. The state has let into its execution chamber someone who was not a member of the official execution team, a doctor who tried unsuccessfully to insert an intravenous line into an inmate’s arm. It has failed to document the appropriate preparation of the drug used. And it has failed to have two medical-team members present at an execution, to ensure that the injection was properly administered. The judge concluded about the state’s serial errors, “A death warrant cannot trump the Constitution.”

Ohio’s attorney general, Mike DeWine, said the state will use the additional time before the next execution, scheduled for September, to address these problems. Governor Kasich should instead listen to Ohio’s senior Supreme Court justice, Paul Pfeifer, who helped write the state’s death-penalty law as a legislator and has called on Ohio to abolish what he calls the “death lottery.” It is time for every state with the penalty on the books to outlaw this barbaric punishment.

Source: Editorial, The New York Times, August 8, 2011

Comments

Most Viewed (Last 7 Days)

Texas Should Not Have Executed Robert Pruett

Texas executes Robert Pruett

Texas: Houston Man Condemned in Family Murder Plot Loses High Court Appeal

8 years since last Thai execution, future of death penalty uncertain

Iran: Young man has hand judicially amputated over jewelry theft

Man convicted in Texas prison guard’s death to be executed

Pakistan's angel of death

Why Indonesia Delays Execution of Death Row Convicts

Texas death row inmate gets new sentencing hearing because lawyer refused to present his case

Malaysia: Over 80 Iranians await execution over drug charges in dire conditions