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They comforted him as they prepared to kill him, providing the 69-year-old with a wedge pillow to help with breathing problems related to his years of heavy smoking.After about 80 minutes, they gave up and returned Mr.
“We may see an end to capital punishment by attrition as there are fewer and fewer executions.”That’s a dispiriting take.
The death penalty holdouts may be few and far between, but they are fiercely committed, and they won’t stop killing people unless they’re forced to.
And yet at the same time, states have passed laws intended to speed up the capital appeals process, despite the growing evidence of legal errors and prosecutorial misconduct that can be hidden for years or longer.
Other states have gone to great lengths to hide their lethal-injection protocols from public scrutiny, even as executions with untested drugs have gone awry and pharmaceutical companies have objected to the use of their products to kill people.
In many of the exonerations, prosecutors won convictions and sentences despite questionable or nonexistent evidence, pervasive misconduct or a pattern of racial bias.
A 2014 study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences extrapolated from known cases of wrongful convictions to estimate that at least 4 percent of all death-row inmates are wrongfully convicted.
Against this backdrop, it would take an enormous leap of faith to believe that no innocent person has ever been executed.
This page has long opposed the death penalty, and would continue to even if the penalty’s application were completely free of bias and error.
It would be tempting to conclude from this litany, which is drawn from an annual report by the Death Penalty Information Center, that capital punishment is being reserved for the most horrific crimes committed by the most incorrigible offenders. The death penalty is not and has never been about the severity of any given crime.
Mental illness, intellectual disability, brain damage, childhood abuse or neglect, abysmal lawyers, minimal judicial review, a white victim — these factors are far more closely associated with who ends up getting executed.