The Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution clearly states that Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted. The Amendment was originally designed for the federal government, but the section about cruel and unusual punishment was adopted by the states.
The execution that happened in Arizona yesterday is clearly the definition of cruel and unusual punishment.
When describing Arizona execution of Joseph Rudolph Wood, a reporter Troy Hayden of Fox 10 News, said it was “very disturbing to watch … like a fish on shore gulping for air. At a certain point, you wondered whether he was ever going to die.”
The process at the state prison in Florence began about 1:30 p.m. Wednesday and dragged on long enough that, more than an hour after the execution started, Dale Baich of the Federal Public Defender’s Office sent two other lawyers out to file an emergency motion asking the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to halt it, saying it violated Wood’s Eighth Amendment right against cruel and unusual punishment. The motion noted that Wood “has been gasping and snorting for more than an hour” after being injected with a lethal cocktail of drugs.
Wood died before the appeals court responded.
“The experiment failed,” Baich said to reporters as he left the execution chamber. In a statement later, he added that “Arizona appears to have joined several other states who have been responsible for an entirely preventable horror — a bungled execution.”
The ruling came from The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Saturday. Arizona is set to execute Joseph Wood on Wednesday, but as of now, that execution is on hold until the source of the drugs are revealed.
Joseph Wood, who killed his estranged girlfriend, Debra Dietz, and her father, Eugene Dietz, in Tucson in 1989, is scheduled to die July 23.
But his attorneys at the Federal Defender’s Office in Phoenix filed suit claiming he had a First Amendment right to know who supplied the drugs that will be used to kill him and the qualifications of the executioners who will carry it out.
Two of the judges in a panel of three sided with Wood; the third dissented.
At issue is a new drug combination that Arizona has turned to because it cannot obtain the drugs it normally uses for executions. That combination, and one of the drugs in particular, a Valium relative called Midazolam, has caused apparent “flawed executions,” as the court called them, in Ohio and Oklahoma.
With a backdrop like what happen in Oklahoma last Tuesday with the botched execution, media outlets far and wide are making their feelings and opinions known about the death penalty. But I’m choosing to highlight the thoughts and ideas of a comedian.
Why? Because the ideas expressed I think, best represent where this country should go in regards to the death penalty.
The comedian is John Oliver. The show is Last Week Tonight.
A death row inmate spent forty minutes writhing in agony before dying of a heart attack following a new cocktail of drugs administered in a lethal injection on Tuesday night.
Oklahoma prison officials halted Clayton Lockett’s execution after the left the man writhing and clenching his teeth on the gurney.
The 38-year-old, who was found guilty of shooting a woman and watching his friends bury her alive, was declared unconscious ten minutes after the first of the state’s new three-drug lethal injection combination was administered.
Three minutes later, though, he began breathing heavily, writhing, clenching his teeth and straining to lift his head off the pillow.
It later emerged his vein had ruptured.
The blinds were eventually lowered to prevent those in the viewing gallery from watching what was happening in the death chamber, and the state’s top prison official eventually called a halt to the proceedings.
Lockett died of a heart attack a short time later, the Department of Corrections said.
Local media present said Mr Lockett sat up and said ‘something’s wrong’ 13 minutes into the procedure.
‘It was a horrible thing to witness. This was totally botched,’ said Lockett’s attorney, David Autry.
HOW THE BOTCHED EXECUTION PLAYED OUT!
6:23 p.m. – The injection process begins. Lockett has heavy, slow blinks, laid still
6:29 p.m. – Consistently closed his eyes
6:30 p.m. – First check of consciousness; still conscious
6:33 p.m. – Announced Lockett was officially unconscious
6:34 p.m. – Lockett started to move his mouth
6:36 p.m. – Lockett began convulsing and mumbling
6:37 p.m. – Lockett sat up and said ‘something’s wrong’
6:39 p.m. – Prison officials lowered the blinds
7:06 p.m. – Lockett dies of massive heart attack
Read more: DailyMail