Friday, January 16, 2015

"My body is on fire"- Oklahoma prisoner executed over four justice dissent

It is an odd thing that the people of the states where the largest number of citizens proclaim their devotion to one who was cruelly executed insist on their right to inflict suffering on those few they choose to execute. Last night Oklahoma did that with the nihil obstat of the five conservative Catholics on the Supreme Court.
Charles Warner - convicted of the ghastly killing of an infant - spoke those words" my body is on fire" in his agony before the paralytic drugs took effect, assuring his silence as the untested chemicals burned through his body and killed him.  If retribution is what Oklahomans seek, I suppose they got it.  But if it is loyalty to the Eighth Amendment bar on cruel and unusual punishment that we week I will stick with Justice Sonia Sotomayor and her three dissenting colleagues in Warner v. Gross:
I believe that we should have granted petitioners’ application for stay. The questions before us are especially important now, given States’ increasing reliance on new and scientifically untested methods of execution. Petitioners have committed horrific crimes, and should be punished. But the Eighth Amendment guarantees that no one should be subjected to an execution that causes searing, unnecessary pain before death. I hope that our failure to act today does not portend our unwillingness to consider these questions.
- gwc 

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