The question isn't whether executions can be made painless: it's whether they're wrong. Everything else is just quibbling. And most of the quibbling simply boils down to trying to make the wrong seem right.That said, after several months respite, lethal injection is back in the news here in California now that a hearing in the Michael Morales case is coming up later this month. Here are a few resources to bring us up to speed: Death Penalty Focus has a page running down the various pending legal cases in the state. For a national perspective check out the Death Penalty Information Center's resource page on the subject.
Worth remembering while the lethal injection issue progresses is that the California Commission on the Fair Administration of Justice continues its work of examing the causes of wrongful convictions and making recommendations to insure the fairness of the administration of criminal justice in the state. The commission has already issued three reports and some of its recommendations are being implemented via the legislative process (see for example the recent bill to require electronic recording of interrogations of individuals charged with serious offenses now sitting on the governor's desk). In addition to these reforms, ultimately, the commission will weigh in on the fairness of the death penalty itself and this judgment could be far more important to the retention of this practice than quibbling over the method we use to kill. Let's not lose sight of that goal.
Tags: death penalty, California, lethal injection, criminal justice,