Civil Rights Law & Policy Blog

Editor: Andrew M. Ironside

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Saturday, May 17, 2014

Nothing like the smell of gunpowder in the morning

The controversial executions in Ohio and Oklahoma give you pause? You're questioning the justness of lethal injection? There must be a better way to kill convicted murders? No problem, says one state legislator in Utah. As the AP reports, the remedy to present injustices might come from a method of the past: 


4-posada-firing-squad-grangerState representative Paul Ray, a Republican from the northern city of Clearfield, plans to introduce his proposal during Utah's next legislative session in January. Lawmakers in Wyoming and Missouri floated similar ideas this year, but both efforts stalled. Ray, however, may succeed.

 

Utah already has a tradition of execution by firing squad, with five police officers using .30-caliber Winchester rifles to execute Ronnie Lee Gardner in 2010, the last execution by rifle to be held in the state.

 

Ray argues the controversial method may seem more palatable now, especially as states struggle with lawsuits and drug shortages that have complicated lethal injections.

 

"It sounds like the wild west, but it's probably the most humane way to kill somebody," Ray said.

 

Utah eliminated execution by firing squad in 2004, citing the excessive media attention it gave inmates. But those sentenced to death before that date still had the option of choosing it, which is how Gardner ended up standing in front of five armed Utah police officers. Gardner was sentenced to death for fatally shooting a Salt Lake City attorney in 1985 while trying to escape from a courthouse.

 

He was third person to die by firing squad after the US supreme court reinstated the death penalty in 1976. Other death-row inmates have opted to die by gunfire instead of lethal injection in Utah, but they are all several years away from exhausting the appeals of their death sentences, Assistant Utah Attorney General Thomas Brunker said. Ray's proposal would give all inmates the option.

CRL&P related posts:

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/civil_rights/2014/05/nothing-like-the-smell-of-gunpowder-in-the-morning.html

Prisons and Prisoners, Theories of Punishment | Permalink

Comments

I would choose firing squad of six with the Governor being the lead shooter. I choose it over any other method of killing humans. The recent case in Oklahoma is disgusting. They injected poison at the human's groin. You folks know what the groin is on a male don't you? The use all these phony words: execution by lethal injection. They are not man enough to say: kill a human by injecting poison into his balls.

Posted by: Liberty1st | May 17, 2014 9:16:13 PM

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