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After a botched execution in Oklahoma, a group of criminal justice experts have come together to review current death penalty executions in the United States to prevent future errors from occurring.

The panel is pushing forthe use of a single drug, rather than a cocktail of many.

They are also calling for governments to better educate the public on the details behind death penalty processes and how the procedures are carried out.

A report produced by the panel has been published just as the Justice Department is conducting a review of death penalty procedures at both the federal and state levels. This includes a review of drugs used and details on procedures.

A report, called “Irreversible Error” has been published by the Constitution Project, which is a bipartisan group of experts composed of former elected officials, who have overseen executions, and anti-death penalty activists.

This report was underway long before the Oklahoma incident as botched executoion lead relatives to use the services of a place like to find qualified people do deal with the executed prisoners.

The group’s main agenda is to make the process of the death penalty system work appropriately, to avoid any issues or errors, to ensure fair application of the penalty. They do not take a stance supporting or against the death penalty.

In a statement, former Virginia Republican Attorney General Mark Early said, "Without substantial revisions -- not only to lethal injection, but across the board -- the administration of capital punishment in America is unjust, disproportionate and very likely unconstitutional." He is a member of the Constitution Project.

The report, amid 39 findings, warns that a death sentence for people convicted of felony murder violates the Constitution’s Eight Amendment. This amendment bans cruel, unusual, and excessive punishment for crimes.

What makes this so important is that in some states, people can be convicted of felony murder even if they did not kill someone, or even attempted to kill.

"Including accidental and non-intentional murderers among the death-eligible creates perverse outcomes — those least "deserving" of a death sentence can be sentenced to die while premeditated and intentional murderers may avoid capital punishment," the report advises.

In the end, the report suggests that better measures must be taken to avoid mistakes, so the Eight Amendment is not violated and that all parties involved are well informed of what will take place.

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Comment Preferences

  •  The fact that the death penalty is (0+ / 0-)

    irreversible makes a lot of people queasy, even those who support the death penalty. Perhaps if there was a way to make the death reversible - say by inducing a coma and keeping the condemned in a vegetative state - you might be able to get majority support for an alternative to the death penalty. At least with a coma if later DNA evidence exonerates the person he or she can be awakened.

  •  The Death Penalty can never be made to work (0+ / 0-)

    appropriately.  We have been attempting to "fix" the Death Penalty now for several decades.  The Supreme Court briefly struck down the death penalty on a very narrow basis over the same concerns addressed in this report in Furman v. Georgia, 408 U.S. 238 (1972).  The Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in Gregg v. Georgia, 428 U.S. 153 (1976), concluding that the state of Georgia and various other states had passed legislation that "fixed" the concerns that led to the Court to strike down the death penalty in Furman.  In reality, as this report demonstrates, the concerns addressed by the Supreme Court in Furman v. Georgia remain just as much of a problem 4 decades later.  The truth is that the death penalty can never be fixed.  Justice Blackmun summed up the state of the death penalty very well in his dissent in Callins v. James, 510 U.S. 1141 (1994) when he stated

    From this day forward, I no longer shall tinker with the machinery of death. For more than 20 years, I have endeavored - indeed, I have struggled - along with a majority of this Court, to develop procedural and substantive rules that would lend more than the mere appearance of fairness to the death penalty endeavor. 1 Rather than continue to coddle the Court's delusion that the desired level of fairness has been achieved and the need for regulation eviscerated, I feel morally and intellectually obligated simply to concede that the death penalty experiment has failed. It is virtually self-evident to me now that no combination of procedural rules or substantive regulations ever can save the death penalty from its inherent constitutional deficiencies.
    This report, while perhaps well intentioned, is misguided when it seeks to "fix" the death penalty.  It can never be fixed.

    We have nothing to fear but fear itself

    by bhouston79 on Sat May 10, 2014 at 08:19:07 AM PDT

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