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USA | Lethal Injections Are Crueler Than Most People Imagine. I’ve Seen the Evidence Firsthand.

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Alabama is pausing the use of the execution method after two botched attempts, but physicians need to refuse to ever participate in making them possible. Lethal injection is not a medical act, but it impersonates one. The method of judicial execution works by shuttling medicines, repurposed as poison, directly into a vein via an intravenous catheter. Intravenous use is a ubiquitous method for drug and fluid delivery that most anyone might recognize, either by direct experience when sick or by observation in others when others are sick. According to the Eighth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, punishment cannot be cruel, and when lethal injection causes death, the outward result can be extraordinarily mild and bloodless. I speak from experience. As a physician, I was invited by Georgia prisoner Marcus Wellons to watch his execution on June 17, 2014. Lethal injection is a highly curated event; even my medical trained eye could detect very little. Wellons died quietly and quickly. I’ve

Opinion: Ohio's death penalty is bad for business

Ohio's Legislature is currently considering strongly bipartisan bills to abolish capital punishment. This is the first time in decades that such bills have received serious consideration.

The ongoing push to end the death penalty reflects declining support for a punishment that has been shown to be cruel, ineffective and immoral. States across America, both red and blue, are ending it once and for all. As we start to have conversations about the state budget, the Legislature is going to have to make some tough decisions about where our tax money should go. Repealing the death penalty and freeing up those financial resources is an easy call. There is another salient argument that is more important than ever: The death penalty is bad for business.

There is no evidence capital punishment deters violent crime. Research has repeatedly shown that states with it have higher murder rates than those without it. For something ineffective, it comes at an enormous cost. Ohioans pay approximately $17 million per year on our death penalty, and $1 million per case in Hamilton County alone. Studies have found that capital cases cost up to 10 times more than others. That money could be put to far better use — helping survivors, supporting mental health initiatives and funding measures that actually keep communities safe.

I opened my company here in Ohio in 2011 for the same reasons many others do: The state is a great place to do business. But to keep funneling tax dollars into something that doesn't work demonstrates fiscal irresponsibility, with authorities more focused on outdated notions of revenge than they are on spending wisely.

I'm not alone. Investors everywhere are signaling their opposition to capital punishment — and taking it into account when deciding where to send their money. Billionaire fund manager Mike Novogratz wrote that investors should look elsewhere in the face of "such reckless mismanagement of taxes."

Our death penalty is also unacceptably arbitrary. Severity of the crime doesn't determine who gets a death sentence. Location, adequate counsel, and opinion of the prosecutor are far more significant. Just five counties in Ohio are responsible for 68% of our cases, and my business is headquartered in one of them — Franklin. Rule of law, fairly and effectively administered, underpins commerce. If we can't guarantee that, how can we expect people to do business here?

Our death penalty is also racist in its implementation, and kills innocent people. People of color make up only 15% of our population, but account for 56% of those sitting on death row. For every five executions in Ohio, one innocent person has been exonerated. Such an appalling error-rate should be unacceptable to any decent human being.

Our use of such a clearly flawed system undermines our ability to attract the best workers. We are in the middle of the "Great Resignation," with people quitting their jobs in record numbers. At the same time, we are dealing with an escalating labor shortage, as workforce supply can't keep up with demand. As an employer of hundreds, I know that we should do everything we can to make Ohio a great place to get a job. Ending capital punishment will help.

Ohio taxpayers deserve better than to be told broken systems of retribution protect them. I care deeply about making Ohio a safer place for our families to live; as a CEO I work every day to make Ohio a more prosperous place to do business. Our death penalty accomplishes neither — we should applaud our legislators as they look to end it.

Source: crainscleveland.com, John Rush, Opinion, November 21, 2022. Rush is CEO of Columbus-based CleanTurn International.





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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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