Monthly Archives: May 2014

Justice John Paul Stevens weighs in for NH Repeal

On the eve of the NH Senate having the opportunity to reconsider and vote on death penalty repeal, former US Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens tells New Hampshire that the death penalty system is fallible and should be abolished.

Take action now to tell your Senator to join the tide of history and vote Yea on SB202:

Click for larger image
Click for larger image

John Paul Stevens is a retired associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. He served from December 19, 1975, until his retirement on June 29, 2010.

During his tenure, he was a supporter of the death penalty.

However, in his latest book, “Six Amendments: How and Why We Should Change the Constitution,” the former Justice tells why he has changed his mind and now advocates for the abolition of the death penalty.

“I really think that in regard to the death penalty … I’m not sure that the democratic process won’t provide the answers sooner than the court does, because I do think there is a significantly growing appreciation of the basic imbalance in cost-per-person benefit analysis. And the application of the death penalty does a lot of harm, and does really very little good.”

“I think this country would be much better off if we did not have capital punishment.

No Humane Way to Die

Clayton Lockett
Clayton Lockett

By Eugene Robinson

Posted on Truthdig on May 2, 2014

No one who supports the death penalty should have the slightest problem with the way Clayton Lockett died.

Lockett, a convicted murderer, spent 43 minutes in apparent agony Tuesday night as the state of Oklahoma tried to execute him by injecting an untested cocktail of drugs. Instead of quickly losing consciousness, he writhed in obvious distress and attempted to speak. Witnesses described what they saw as horrific.

Prison authorities halted the procedure—they were going to revive Lockett so they could kill him at a later date, presumably in a more aesthetically pleasing manner—but the condemned man suffered a heart attack and died.

The state postponed a second execution that had been scheduled for the same night, but I wonder why. We fool ourselves if we think there is a “humane” way to way to kill someone. Sure, the second inmate, Charles Warner, probably would have suffered an equally agonizing death. But isn’t this the whole point?

When I read about the crimes Lockett committed, I wish I could support capital punishment. When I read about what Warner did, I want to strangle him with my own hands. But revenge is not the same thing as justice, and karmic retribution is not a power I trust government to exercise. The death penalty has no place in a civilized society.