The Death Penalty’s Underlying Problem


Does the state have the right to execute its citizens? My answer is yes. Did the botched execution of Clayton Lockett in Oklahoma – 43 minutes between the beginning of the lethal injection and his death by heart attack – constitute cruel and unusual punishment? Again, my answer is yes. Does Texas, which persists in proving itself to be our nation’s most efficient capital killing field, execute citizens in a way that isn’t cruel and unusual? My answer is probably. Should Texas and other states exercise this right? Here, my answer is no.

I say that not only because the death penalty has been disproportionately imposed upon blacks and Hispanics, who make up more than half of our nation’s death row population (and more than two-thirds in Oklahoma and Texas.) Nor solely because the death penalty is sometimes wrongly imposed, most recently documented in a study published in the Proceeding…

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