Tennessee execution: Billy Ray Irick tortured to death, expert says in new filing

Editor's note: Reporter Dave Boucher was one of seven state-required media witnesses at Irick's execution. 
Billy Ray Irick felt searing pain akin to torture before he died in a Tennessee prison in August, but steps taken in carrying out his execution blocked signs of suffering, according to a doctor who reviewed information about the lethal injection.
In new court filings entered late Thursday amidst an ongoing legal challenge of Tennessee’s lethal injection protocol, Dr. David Lubarsky said statements from people who witnessed the execution indicated the controversial drug midazolam failed to ensure Irick could not feel pain during his death.
As a result, the death row inmate “experienced the feeling of choking, drowning in his own fluids, suffocating, being buried alive, and the burning sensation caused by the injection of the potassium chloride,” Lubarsky wrote in the filing.
The document also says the state did not follow its own lethal injection protocol, raising questio…

Chen Chu calls for prudence over practice of death penalty in Taiwan

Cheng Chieh
Debate on capital punishment has been re-ignited and is now an election issue after a number of brutal murders occurred over the past 2 months

Whether or not the Taiwanese authorities should execute those who are sentenced to death has been hotly debated over the past couple of months, due partly to a number of brutal murders that occurred during May and June. Now the death penalty even looks to become an election issue leading up to November.

Asked to comment on the fact that there have not been any executions in Taiwan for more than 2 years, Chen Chu, secretary-general to the Presidential Office and a key member of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), said Saturday the authorities remain prudent in regards to the issue of capital punishment.

The Ministry of Justice (MOJ) is exercising prudence over the issue, said Chen Saturday morning at a farmers' market held at the Presidential Office. "In terms of carrying out the death penalty, it requires a broad societal consensus."

"After all, we all only live once," added Chen, even though some of her party members seem to hold a different view. A DDP member suggested to President Tsai Ing-wen during a party committee this week that the government should impose the death penalty, as he believes that it accords with the greater sentiment of the Taiwanese people, reported Central News Agency.

Earlier polls show that about 80 % of the Taiwanese people support the death penalty. However, when law stipulates a punishment of life imprisonment for who commit serious crimes, without the possibility for parole, the percentage of those in support of the death penalty shrinks to lower than 50 %.

According to MOJ, there are currently 43 people on death row in Taiwan. After the execution of Cheng Chieh, who randomly attacked passengers on the Taipei Metro in May 2014, killing 4 people and injuring dozens, was executed in May 2016, the ministry, under the Tsai administration has not signed any further execution orders.

Chen Ming-tang, MOJ's deputy minister, told United Daily News that the ministry will neither abolish nor completely refrain from exercising capital punishment. But it will make decision with utmost prudence, said Chen.

Source: Taiwan News, July 7, 2018

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"One is absolutely sickened, not by the crimes that the wicked have committed,
but by the punishments that the good have inflicted." -- Oscar Wilde

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