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Hang him again, he ain’t dead
It’s amazing how US continues to execute ‘criminals’, blind to the fact that many convictions could be wrong

It was the recent US Supreme Court judgement that kicked our peeve more than Saddam could have ever of Bush. The Court ruled that Kentucky’s three-drug method of execution by lethal injection does not violate any kind of constitutional amendments. Not that it would matter anymore, but we just thought of putting history in the right perspective. Going back in time, in 1879 (Wilkerson vs. Utah), in a judgement cited by the same Supreme Court (execution by firing), the criminal in question was documented to have suffered for 27 minutes, even in the presence of a doctor, before dying. Again, in 1890, in an electric chair execution, the criminal was breathing after the exercise.

People like Ray Krone, Jonathon Hoffman, Madison Hobley, Aaron Patterson, Stanley Howard, LeRoy Orange and many other unreported names spent numerous years in jail for crimes they didn’t commit (including being on death bench). What’s more, since 1973, more than 125 people (10 in 2003 alone) in the US have been freed from death penalty due to evidence of their convictions being faulty.

If one goes even by some tasteless financial logic, legislative audits show now that the estimated cost of a death penalty case is 70% (and in some cases 300%) more than the cost of a comparable non-death penalty case. Various studies show that the chance of a case being put on trial for death penalty is 84% higher in cases where the victim is white. It further reveals that African-American defendants receive the death penalty at thrice the rate of white defendants (especially in cases where the victims are white). Moreover, killers of whites are treated more strictly than killers of the non-whites. In a survey of 1,788 male inmates by Human Rights Watch, about 21% claimed they had been forced into sexual activity and raped during confinement.
Clearly, Illinois’ Governor George Ryan’s statement in January 2000 was less hyperbole and more of pertinent argument, when he said, “I cannot support a system which, in its administration, has proven so fraught with error and has come so close to the ultimate nightmare – the state’s taking of innocent life... Until I can be sure everyone sentenced to death in Illinois is truly guilty, ...no one will meet that fate.”

Even now the Nebraska top Court’s ruling uses an electric chair that violates the state Constitution’s ban on cruel and inhumane punishment. Strangely, the US Supreme Court has repeatedly declared lethal injection to be ‘uncruel’ and humane, in spite of documented evidence that the cocktail of drugs used to execute criminals could cause severe anguish. Well, what more can you expect of a nation, whose people argue more about Paris Hilton’s dressing sense, and debate more about Britney Spears’ marital problems, than of severe human indiscretions.

By:- Sray Agarwal

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