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Capitol Crimes & Punishments

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Obviously this isn't a subject for everyone, but I feel it's truly a must for everyone to know what the methods are and all that can go wrong.  We have to also remember that there are many in custody that truly are innocent, which is the argument regarding the case posted below that was in the news today in Oklahoma.

There are continual must see videos on this CNN page.  I couldn't stop watching because there are so many things I don't know and understand about the processes of capitol punishment.

In the video it states ~ "There are five different legal methods of executions in the U S.   Human rights activists say that each can cause unnecessary suffering, and each method has been called cruel and unusual.  One study found that between 1900 and 2011, about 3% of all U S executions were botched, and the rate for lethal injections may be even higher."  The videos explain each method, and how they can go wrong.

This is horrific!  One or more states want the electric chair, which is considered extremely violent and often the process needs to be repeated because the person was still alive after the first time, and in some cases the body actually caught on fire.  Most people feel this is moving backwards.  The same holds with gas chambers, where they have seen the person hold their breath instead of inhaling deeply to die quickly, and then choking and gagging for several minutes before dying.  Some are pushing for a firing squad (typically 5 shooters), which often took many minutes for the person to die if one or more shooters missed the heart, while others want the guillotine.  Many want hanging, which is the most common world wide, and in theory it is a quick death with the neck breaking, but it often doesn't work because of the rope may be either too long or too short.


Oklahoma delays Richard Glossip execution amid evidence concerns

By Holly Yan and Jason Hanna, CNN
Updated 6:13 PM ET, Wed September 16, 2015 | Video Source: CNN

(CNN)An Oklahoma appellate court granted a two-week stay of execution for Richard Glossip just hours before he was scheduled to die Wednesday, meaning that a man whose lawyers say is innocent has at least a temporary reprieve.

The Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals issued the order about three hours before Glossip's scheduled afternoon execution for the 1977 death of motel owner Barry Van Treese.

The move came amid concerns, expressed by Glossip's supporters and attorneys, about his trial and the way the state planned to execute him. The appellate court said it needed time to consider several motions that Glossip's attorneys made less than 24 hours before the scheduled execution, including one asking for an evidentiary hearing.

"Due to Glossip's last minute filing, and in order for this court to give fair consideration to the materials included with his subsequent application for post-conviction relief, we hereby grant an emergency stay of execution for two weeks," the court wrote.

The order resets the execution date to September 30.

After the stay was issued, Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin issued a statement saying the "court is the proper place for Richard Glossip and his legal team to argue the merits of his case."

"My office will respect whatever decision the court makes, as we have throughout this process," Fallin said.

Glossip's lawyers have been asking Fallin for a 60-day reprieve, based on what they say is new evidence of innocence discovered in the past two weeks.

Glossip was convicted of murder in Van Treese's death, though Glossip wasn't the actual killer.

The man who bludgeoned Van Treese to death, Justin Sneed, testified that Glossip hired him for the murder. But jurors weren't presented with evidence that Sneed gave contradictory accounts to police about what happened, wrote Sister Helen Prejean, who ministers to prisoners on death row.

Prejean also noted what she said was the lack of evidence linking Glossip to the crime.

Concerns with midazolam
The head of Oklahoma's Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty expressed enthusiasm and gratitude about Wednesday's decision, while expressing hopes that Fallin follows up with her own 60-day reprieve.

"We remain hopeful about the courts and the governor, that she too will find a reason to support the court ... (to) evaluate Richard's case beyond any shadow of doubt," the group chairwoman Connie Johnson said. "Accordingly, we will continue our advocacy with her and the public."

It's not just the facts of Glossip's particular case that activists have focused on. It's how he might be put to death.

He had been scheduled to be the first inmate to be executed in Oklahoma since a bitterly divided Supreme Court allowed the use of the drug midazolam in June.

The drug was used in the highly publicized execution of Clayton Lockett last year. Lockett's execution was one of the longest in U.S. history; he moaned and writhed on the gurney for 43 minutes before dying of a heart attack.

A state investigation linked the problem to the IV lines not being inserted correctly.

But the state did not deem it necessary to change its controversial three-drug formula. Of particular concern is the use of the sedative midazolam, also used in two other executions that went awry: Dennis McGuire agonized for 26 minutes in Ohio, and Joseph Wood gasped more than 600 times and took two hours to die in Arizona.

Oklahoma has since upped its dosage of midazolam to 500 milligrams, compared with the 100 milligrams Lockett got.

In a phone interview with CNN's Moni Basu earlier this year, Glossip said he was terrified he will suffer a similar agonizing death for a crime he says he didn't commit.

"I am worried they will botch it again," Glossip said.

Victim's brother has no sympathy
Glossip, who has spent more than 17 years in a cell near the death chamber, also spoke about the man whose testimony led to his death sentence.

"At first I was angry at Justin, but now I feel sorry for him," Glossip said. "He's afraid of how Oklahoma will kill him if he owns up to what really happened, just like I am afraid of how they'll kill me."

At a clemency hearing for Glossip last year, Van Treese's brother expressed no sympathy for the inmate.

"I will speak for my brother," Kenneth Van Treese said. "'It hurts like hell to have your head bashed in with a baseball bat. Do not feel sorry for the b******* who took my life.'"

CNN's Greg Botelho and Ariane de Vogue contributed to this report.

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  • Elders (Admins)

As I've said before, I'm against the death penalty. There's no guarantee that any of the current methods of execution can be called civilised and humane. And there can be a risk that the condemned person is actually innocent.

It would have taken tens (if not hundreds) of thousands of dollars to hear all those appeals against sentence. I'm assuming that it's the state that funds those appeals - if not, it should do. In the meantime, people on death row, whether guilty or innocent, spend decades awaiting sentence, and the family and friends of the victim spend those decades in limbo waiting for whatever kind of closure is possible. It's far better that capital crimes are dealt with by life imprisonment without parole. That gives some kind of resolution to the family and friends of the victim. And for any innocent condemned person, it gives them the time to challenge the verdict and present fresh evidence.

I've always thought that seeking the death sentence is more about vengeance rather than justice - though I can understand why victims' families might want vengeance. As a mother, I've always been bemused by the whole "I'd die for my kids", because that never made sense (they need me alive to protect and nurture them); but "I'd kill for my kids" is what I felt. If anyone should harm my kids, even though they're now in their late thirties, I'd want to tear the perpetrator limb from limb and make them suffer. That's the visceral reaction of a mother and also a father. But that's not how I want my country to behave.

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Thank you for your reply Libby, and it's an excellent response, I do agree with you.  Killing another human being can never be civilized or humane; it's still killing, no matter how you look at it or perceive it, or whether it's a system or an individual.  Killing is killing, a violent act, and to me, if someone wants another person dead, even if convicted of the crime, that lowers the system or individual(s) to the level of the killer.  In some countries it's the family of the victim that decides the fate of the perpetrator. Now that's scary.

There are many inmates who are innocent, set up, etc., and imagine how anyone, family or individual, would feel if they had the wrong person executed.  I just don't feel we should take the chance.  Nor do we fully understand the mind of a killer, and the line between sanity and insanity is very narrow.

To the best of my knowledge, most appeals are funded by the attorney's law firm and the family.  States are not going to spend the money on appeals for anyone.  Then there's the problem with corrupt systems, which to me span every state, county and city.

There's a judge in Ohio who is gaining a reputation for his sentencing.  He took a teen who was charged with theft and who stiffed a cab driver after taking her 30 miles.  The judge said she could spend 30 days in jail, or walk 30 miles.  I feel this was a very wise decision.  It taught her a big lesson, I hope, and kept her from having a record and ruining her life at such a young age.  This is the kind of judge we need in all the courtrooms.

I would definitely die for my children if that was the only choice, them or me.  And yes, a good mother would kill for her baby chicks, without a doubt.  I repeat, "good" parent, because there are many in the world that just don't give a hoot what happens to their kids.

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