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America Is Stuck With the Death Penalty for (At Least) a Generation

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With Justice Anthony Kennedy's retirement, the national fight to abolish capital punishment will have to go local.
When the Supreme Court revived capital punishment in 1976, just four years after de facto abolishing it, the justices effectively took ownership of the American death penalty and all its outcomes. They have spent the decades since then setting its legal and constitutional parameters, supervising its general implementation, sanctioning its use in specific cases, and brushing aside concerns about its many flaws.
That unusual role in the American legal system is about to change. With Justice Anthony Kennedy’s retirement from the court this summer, the Supreme Court will lose a heterodox jurist whose willingness to cross ideological divides made him the deciding factor in many legal battles. In cases involving the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment, his judgment often meant the difference between life and death for hundreds of death-row pr…

Mississippi Senate passes Execution Secrecy Bill

In the future a Mississippi death row inmate's execution and all those involved in the process could be kept from the public.

Senate Bill 2237, introduced by Republican Senator Joey Fillingane, passed Tuesday.

Entitled the "Execution Secrecy Bill", the measure would protect the identities of the execution team, suppliers of the lethal injection drugs and others involved in the execution process.

State Attorney General Jim Hood helped draft the legislation.

He said in reaction to anti-death penalty advocates who have threatened and harassed the companies providing the lethal injections and even the executioner.

"As long as it's the law in Mississippi I've got a duty to carry it out and if there's a method by which I can carry it out without people getting abused; the executioner, the pharmacy that provides the drugs, I think we owe them that protection. It's a state law," said Hood.

Opponents of the Execution Secrecy legislation say the public would not be made aware of the execution process which could possibly be inhumane and not divulge where the drugs were from, how they are administered or their reactions.

We were unable to reach Senator Fillingane and Prisoner Rights Advocates for comment on the execution secrecy bill.

Similar bills have been passed in recent years in Arkansas and Georgia.

Source: WDAM news, Feb. 18, 2016

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