The logic of women on trial: case studies of popular American trials

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There is the awful odor of burning flesh. No one knows how long electrocuted individuals retain consciousness. In , the electrocution of John Evans in Alabama was described by an eyewitness as follows:. Evans' body. Sparks and flames erupted … from the electrode tied to Mr. Evans' left leg.

His body slammed against the straps holding him in the electric chair and his fist clenched permanently. The electrode apparently burst from the strap holding it in place. A large puff of grayish smoke and sparks poured out from under the hood that covered Mr. Evans' face. An overpowering stench of burnt flesh and clothing began pervading the witness room. Two doctors examined Mr. Evans and declared that he was not dead. Evans was administered a second thirty second jolt of electricity.

The stench of burning flesh was nauseating.

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More smoke emanated from his leg and head. Again, the doctors examined Mr. At that time, I asked the prison commissioner, who was communicating on an open telephone line to Governor George Wallace, to grant clemency on the grounds that Mr.


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Evans was being subjected to cruel and unusual punishment. The request …was denied. At , the doctors pronounced him dead. The execution of John Evans took fourteen minutes. The introduction of the gas chamber was an attempt to improve on electrocution. In this method of execution the prisoner is strapped into a chair with a container of sulfuric acid underneath. The chamber is sealed, and cyanide is dropped into the acid to form a lethal gas. Execution by suffocation in the lethal gas chamber has not been abolished but lethal injection serves as the primary method in states which still authorize it.

In a panel of judges on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in California where the gas chamber has been used since ruled that this method is a "cruel and unusual punishment. A few seconds later he again looked in my direction. His face was red and contorted as if he were attempting to fight through tremendous pain. His mouth was pursed shut and his jaw was clenched tight. Don then took several more quick gulps of the fumes. His face and body turned a deep red and the veins in his temple and neck began to bulge until I thought they might explode.

The Logic Of Women On Trial: Case Studies Of Popular American Trials 1994

After about a minute Don's face leaned partially forward, but he was still conscious. Every few seconds he continued to gulp in. He was shuddering uncontrollably and his body was racked with spasms. His head continued to snap back. His hands were clenched. At this time the muscles along Don's left arm and back began twitching in a wavelike motion under his skin. Spittle drooled from his mouth.

Approximately two minutes later, we were told by a prison official that the execution was complete. District Court , S. The latest mode of inflicting the death penalty, enacted into law by more than 30 states, is lethal injection , first used in in Texas.

The Logic Of Women On Trial Case Studies Of Popular American Trials 1994

It is easy to overstate the humaneness and efficacy of this method; one cannot know whether lethal injection is really painless and there is evidence that it is not. As the U.


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  • Court of Appeals observed, there is "substantial and uncontroverted evidence… that execution by lethal injection poses a serious risk of cruel, protracted death…. Even a slight error in dosage or administration can leave a prisoner conscious but paralyzed while dying, a sentient witness of his or her own asphyxiation. Heckler , F. Its veneer of decency and subtle analogy with life-saving medical practice no doubt makes killing by lethal injection more acceptable to the public. Journalist Susan Blaustein, reacting to having witnessed an execution in Texas, comments:. Nor does execution by lethal injection always proceed smoothly as planned.

    In "the authorities repeatedly jabbed needles into … Stephen Morin, when they had trouble finding a usable vein because he had been a drug abuser. Although the U. Supreme Court has held that the current method of lethal injection used is constitutional, several people have suffered because of this form of execution.

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    In Ohio, Rommel Broom was subjected to 18 attempts at finding a vein so that he could be killed by lethal injection. The process to try to execute him took over two hours. Finally, the governor had to stop the execution and grant the inmate a one week reprieve. Nor was he the only Ohio inmate so maltreated. The state had amended its injection protocol to use a single drug, propofol, which advocates say causes severe pain upon injection. Although similar suits are pending in other states, [15] not all protocol-based challenges have succeeded; in Texas and Oklahoma, executions have continued despite questions about the potential cruelty of lethal injection and the type or number of chemicals used.

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    Food and Drug Administration FDA —are now the subject of federal litigation that could impact the legitimacy of the American death penalty system. Most people who have observed an execution are horrified and disgusted. In my face he could see the horror of his own death. Revulsion at the duty to supervise and witness executions is one reason why so many prison wardens — however unsentimental they are about crime and criminals — are opponents of capital punishment. Don Cabana, who supervised several executions in Missouri and Mississippi reflects on his mood just prior to witnessing an execution in the gas chamber:.

    It has been said that men on death row are inhuman, cold-blooded killers.


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    • But as I stood and watched a grieving mother leave her son for the last time, I questioned how the sordid business of executions was supposed to be the great equalizer…. The 'last mile' seemed an eternity, every step a painful reminder of what waited at the end of the walk. Where was the cold-blooded murderer, I wondered, as we approached the door to the last-night cell. I had looked for that man before… and I still had not found him — I saw, in my grasp, only a frightened child. I don't want to do this anymore. They do their best to perform the impossible and inhumane job with which the state has charged them.

      gelatocottage.sg/includes/2020-09-12/34.php Those of us who have participated in executions often suffer something very much like posttraumatic stress. Many turn to alcohol and drugs. For some individuals, however, executions seem to appeal to strange, aberrant impulses and provide an outlet for sadistic urges. Warden Lewis Lawes of Sing Sing Prison in New York wrote of the many requests he received to watch electrocutions, and told that when the job of executioner became vacant.

      Public executions were common in this country during the 19th and early 20th centuries. One of the last ones occurred in in Kentucky, when 20, people gathered to watch the hanging of a young African American male. Delight in brutality, pain, violence and death may always be with us. But surely we must conclude that it is best for the law not to encourage such impulses.

      When the government sanctions, commands, and ceremoniously carries out the execution of a prisoner, it lends support to this destructive side of human nature. More than two centuries ago the Italian jurist Cesare Beccaria, in his highly influential treatise On Crimes and Punishment , asserted: "The death penalty cannot be useful, because of the example of barbarity it gives men. Such methods are inherently cruel and will always mock the attempt to cloak them in justice. Goldberg wrote, "The deliberate institutionalized taking of human life by the state is the greatest conceivable degradation to the dignity of the human personality.

      Capital appeals are not only costly; they are also time-consuming. The average death row inmate waits 12 years between sentencing and execution, and some sit in anticipation of their executions on death row for up to 30 years.