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Executions Suspended In Florida and California – I’m Glad

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It seems that the agonizingly slow execution of Angel Nieves Diaz in Florida earlier this week has resulted in the suspension of executions scheduled in California as well as in Florida.

Personally, I am pleased with these decisions.

As I have written before, although I consider the death penalty to be both morally and constitutionally acceptable, I do not consider it to be, in practice, either of those things. Innocent people have been sentenced to death and, in at least one case, executed for crimes they did not commit.

The wealth, power, social status, influence, education and race of someone convicted of a capital crime has repeatedly been shown to have a direct effect on whether the person is sentenced to death or life imprisonment — or even convicted of the capital crime in the first place.

This is unjust and should be stopped. If capital punishment is to be resumed I strongly urge that it be reserved for only those circumstances where the standards of guilt are raised higher than "beyond a reasonable doubt" to the level of "virtual certainty."

It is of marginal concern for me as to whether a person being executed experiences a brief period of physical or emotional pain or discomfort. Such would seem to me to be neither "cruel or unusual" under the circumstances. This is, however, the issue being considered by the State Courts in California and, as a procedural matter, in Florida.

Last week it took Angel Nieves Diaz 34 minutes of quiet squirming before he died. According to recent reports the execution was botched because the IV needle was inserted through his vein, and the mortal dose of drugs was infused into his muscle instead of into his bloodstream.

I hope that someone gets fired for incompetency in this matter. It is a simple matter to determine whether a needle in inserted properly or not. Anyone charged with this assignment should have been able to do this correctly — and one person's incompetence should not be a legitimate legal reason to void the legality of execution by lethal injection.

But the occasion does provide another opportunity for us to rethink the matter once again. For this I am glad.

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About Bird of Paradise

  • Brian aka Guppusmaximus

    Yea.. I wonder if Mr. Diaz gave that topless bar manager a humane way to meet his/her death. Oh wait… that’s right, it’s only the cold-hearted bastards that get the fair shake in that deal.

    Am I supposed to feel sorry for this creep?

    “[Capital Punishment] be reserved for only those circumstances where the standards of guilt are raised higher than “beyond a reasonable doubt” to the level of “virtual certainty.”

    I agree 100% and we need to work on the justice system not the punishment. They should halt executions till they fix this system of ours but don’t change the method!

    Still, How can somone who took an innocent life expect to be treated humanely??

  • zingzing

    cause we’re supposed to be better than they are?

  • Wongdonglong

    Exection for diaz just a cake walk. This peace of shit should have been given his 5gal bucket of vasoline and entered Big Bubba’s jail cell for a lifetime of lube jobs.

  • Baronius

    As a white man, I am slightly more likely to be executed for a crime (when statistics are controlled for income and type of crime). Nevertheless, I support capital punishment. We do need to make sure that the legal system works in this matter, and in all matters. A mistake in capital punishment is the most horrific miscarriage of justice, but any injustice damages the system.

  • http://musical-guru.blogspot.com/ Michael J. West

    Whatever happened to, “Better to let 100 guilty men go free than to wrongly convict one innocent man?”

    Surely that logic applies when turned up a notch. “Better to let 100 guilty men live than to wrongly execute one innocent man”?

    I rather thought this was Bird of Paradise’s point, and it’s an incredibly moral one to take.

  • http://musical-guru.blogspot.com/ Michael J. West

    Whatever happened to, “Better to let 100 guilty men go free than to wrongly convict one innocent man?”

    Surely that logic applies when turned up a notch. “Better to let 100 guilty men live than to wrongly execute one innocent man”?

    I rather thought this was Bird of Paradise’s point, and it’s an incredibly moral one to take.

  • nancy

    In the grand scheme of things, damn few innocent persons are punished for crimes they didn’t commit. Those few that were, when their cases were examined, it seems there was plenty ELSE they were guilty of.I would rather off 1 innocent man then let 100 murderers go free. The argument that ‘we’ (?) are supposed to be “better” ?) than this or that other behavior is bullshit. Frankly murderers don’t get what they themselves so richly deserve, or they’d be put to death exactly the same way they murdered their victims, with just as much pain & suffering. Diaz suffered for 34 minutes before dying? Good. A very, very small & inadequate payback for what he inflicted on his victim & their family.

  • D’oh

    Sorry, Nancy.

    One innocent being killed by the State is one too many. It runs contrary to our system of justice as was set up by the founders to ensure that an innocent person was not convicted, much less executed unjustly.

    This exact problem was of major concern to the founders, who came from places where you were guilty as long as the powers that be say so.

    And it is this very principle which is the foundation for many of the provisions of our Constitution, as well as mostof the criticism revolving around things like the PATRIOT act and the MCA.

  • Lee

    In my opinion the families are the ones who suffer the most. The families of the victims and the families of the killers that are executed. There mourning sometimes can last a life time. The families are still here while there loved ones are gone. It’s sad on both sides.