Texas Should Not Have Executed Robert Pruett

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…

Gov. John Kasich dismissed the potential adoption of alternate methods for carrying out the death penalty in Ohio

"I don't think that's where we're headed," he told reporters Oct. 26, after being asked whether the state should consider firing squads, hangings and other options being discussed elsewhere in the country.

Kasich offered the comments a week after he postponed all Ohio executions scheduled in 2016, citing continued difficulties in finding supplies of the drugs used in lethal injections.

The Department of Rehabilitation and Correction noted last week that it "continues to seek all legal means to obtain the drugs necessary to carry out court ordered executions, but over the past few years it has become exceedingly difficult to secure those drugs because of severe supply and distribution restrictions. The new dates are designed to provide DRC additional time necessary to secure the required execution drugs."

11 inmates now have executions scheduled in 2017, plus 8 more in 2018 and a half a dozen in 2019.

Kasich said Oct. 26 that his administration would continue to work toward resuming executions.

"We'll keep doing what we can do," he said. "There's a bunch of court cases. We'll see how they get resolved."

He added, "Some of these people who sit on death row have committed heinous crimes, and there is great pain in some of these families, who say ... 'I will not be able to rest until justice is done,'" he said. "It's a very difficult thing to have to explain to them. ... I think sometimes when it comes to this issue, people really forget the victims."

Some state lawmakers have voiced support for considering other execution methods.

"The death penalty, if we're going to conduct it in Ohio, needs to be done fairly, needs to be done safely, it needs to be done in a way that is transparent," Senate President Keith Faber (R-Celina) said last week. "From that perspective, if we can't get the drugs that our protocol calls for, either we need to change our protocols or we need to think about other solutions. There are a lot of people out there talking about other solutions. I've heard everything from using heroin to using nitrogen to going back to the electric chair. That's a debate that probably we need to have."

Capital punishment opponents, however, continue to push for the state to discontinue executions permanently.

"In a state where we have nine death row exonerees, wrongly convicted in Ohio courts, there is only one viable option: a sentence of life without parole in capital cases," state Rep. Nickie Antonio (D-Lakewood) said in a released statement. "... The current drug shortage that has postponed executions for yet another year is an opportunity for Ohio to consider becoming the 20th state to abolish capital punishment in favor of life without parole. We can condemn the violent offensive acts of those who commit heinous crimes, but no execution brings back a loved one and we as a society must be better than our worst criminals and our flawed system."

Source: Twinsburg Bulletin, October 27, 2015

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