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No Second Chances: What to Do After a Botched Execution

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Ohio tried and failed to execute Alva Campbell. The state shouldn't get a second chance.
The pathos and problems of America's death penalty were vividly on display yesterday when Ohio tried and failed to execute Alva Campbell. Immediately after its failure Gov. John Kasich set June 5, 2019, as a new execution date.
This plan for a second execution reveals a glaring inadequacy in the legal standards governing botched executions in the United States.
Campbell was tried and sentenced to die for murdering 18-year-old Charles Dials during a carjacking in 1997. After Campbell exhausted his legal appeals, he was denied clemency by the state parole board and the governor.
By the time the state got around to executing Campbell, he was far from the dangerous criminal of 20 years ago. As is the case with many of America's death-row inmates, the passage of time had inflicted its own punishments.
The inmate Ohio strapped onto the gurney was a 69-year-old man afflicted with serious ailm…

Push in Rural Kentucky to Abolish Death Penalty

The push for multiple executions in Arkansas has shed a harsh light on the death penalty in America, especially in the South, where capital punishment is legal in every state including Kentucky.

Here in the Commonwealth, it's been 8/1/2 years since the last execution and abolitionists say it's time to make life without parole the maximum sentence. 

Rob Musick, a religion professor and chaplain at the University of Pikeville, said there are several reasons why support is growing in rural Kentucky to make the death penalty illegal.

"Specifically, when you use the idea of government waste of money," Musick said, "oftentimes when the government is over-reaching into our lives, when the government gets some things wrong."

Kentucky lawmakers repeatedly have rejected legislation to eliminate the death penalty, including during this year's recently completed legislative session.

Musick is one of the volunteers who will staff the Kentucky Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty information booth at this year's Hillbilly Days. This event, the state's 2nd largest festival, runs Thursday through Saturday in Pikeville.

Musick said the reason he hears most from people who support the death penalty is that execution is a deterrent to crime. He disagrees.

"I say, 'Well, if that were being the case'," Musick said, "'then why do we see such an intense, violent crime-ridden country like ours where we have such gun crimes and mass shootings? If that really were working, wouldn't we see such less crime?'"

In 2011, the American Bar Association issued a report that found a myriad of problems with the state's death-penalty system, including its cost and duration. A recent poll found that when informed of those problems, 64 % of Kentuckians supported making life without parole the maximum sentence. So why hasn't the Kentucky Legislature acted?

"It has a lot to do with political courage and people just naming the elephant in the room," Musick said. "We know there are some key members of the House and Senate that are actually against the death penalty, but they don't want to put themselves out there yet, until they know it's a slam dunk."

Source: publicnewsservice.org, April 18, 2017

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