Sunday, July 27, 2014

Ready, Aim....

Looking at your soon-to-be short future
I've been in the legal business for about 25 years.  During that time I've seen the law go up and down and left and right, sideways, crossways, and every which way but loose.  In the last few years, though, I've noticed a number of judges who have tossed aside the law and based decisions on their own "feelings" or political affiliation(s), which is too bad because it is the responsibility of a judge to be impartial.  Imagine, then, my surprise when I see judges who make rulings or submit recommendations based on the rule of law.  I mean, imagine the implications!  Lawyers and pro pers can go into court and expect the ruling to be based on the law - and not how a judge feels on any particular day!

Of course, all this leads up to the point of this blog post - which is the comment Justice Alex Kozinski made on the issue of the death penalty.  More to the point, the "how" to execute people.  Seems Arizona was attempting to execute Joseph Wood on July 23 by lethal injection.  Seems Arizona botched the attempt because Mr. Wood was left on the table gasping and snorting before dying (probably much like his victims were doing when he killed his estranged girlfriend and her father in 1989).  It was in response to the way Mr. Wood met his fate that Justice Kozinski suggested that states should toss out the process of lethal injection in favor of more reliable ways to end a person's life such as by death by guillotine or firing squad.

The question in my mind now is why use lethal injection at all?  I suspect the reason States went with the lethal injection method was because anti-death penalty people wanted a more "humane" method of execution.  The problem with that is that drug injection is never going to be 100% effective (just ask any junkie).  In fact, the only way to guarantee cessation of life is to separate the brain from the body and there are only two ways to do that effectively - with a guillotine or a .50 caliber weapon.

Whatever your stance on the death penalty, it is important to note that it is not a "cut" and dried issue.  Legal ramifications on both sides of the debate are valid.  What is important is the fact that judges (in this case Justice Kozinski) are able to set aside their own personal affiliations (whether sarcastic or not) and sift out the hyperbole, cutting to the heart of the matter.