Supreme Court: No Constitutional Guarantee Of “Painless Death” In Executions

In a major 5-4 ruling on Monday, the United States Supreme Court ruled Monday that the Eighth Amendment does not guarantee a “painless death” in capital punishment. The opinion, written by Justice Neil Gorsuch, returned to the origins of the amendment and concluded that Russell Bucklew’s rare medical condition raising the danger of hemorrhage and choking does not constitute a constitutional barrier to execution. The opinion is Bucklew v. Precythe. 

In 1996, Bucklew became violent when his girlfriend tried to break up with him. She escaped to a neighbor’s house but Bucklew followed and shot and killed the neighbor. He then beat the woman and raped her. He was captured after a shootout with police. He later escaped jail and attacked his girlfriend’s mother with a hammer.

Two weeks before his schedule execution, Bucklew raised a medical condition as a unique barrier for the use on lethal injection on him, as described by the Court:

“Mr. Bucklew suffers from a disease called cavernous hemangioma, which causes vascular tumors— clumps of blood vessels—to grow in his head, neck, and throat. His complaint alleged that this condition could prevent the pentobarbital from circulating properly in his body; that the use of a chemical dye to flush the intrave- nous line could cause his blood pressure to spike and his tumors to rupture; and that pentobarbital could interact adversely with his other medications.”

Notably, the execution was halted by former Justice Anthony Kennedy was still on the Court. However, he was replaced by Justice Brett Kavanaugh who cast the fifth vote with the majority. Kavanaugh wrote a concurrence that left the door open for future challenges but noted that Bucklew failed to shoulder his burden to show a more humane form of execution: “an inmate who contends that a particular method of execution is very likely to cause him severe pain should ordinarily be able to plead some alternative method of execution that would significantly reduce the risk of severe pain.”

Gorsuch explores the far more painful methods of execution historically that were never seriously questioned by the Court under the Eighth Amendment:

“What does all this tell us about how the Eighth Amendment applies to methods of execution? For one thing, it tells us that the Eighth Amendment does not guarantee a prisoner a painless death—something that, of course, isn’t guaranteed to many people, including most victims of capital crimes. Glossip, 576 U. S., at ___ (slip op., at 4). Instead, what unites the punishments the Eighth Amendment was understood to forbid, and distin- guishes them from those it was understood to allow, is that the former were long disused (unusual) forms of punishment that intensified the sentence of death with a (cruel) “‘superadd[ition]’” of “‘terror, pain, or disgrace.’”Baze, 553 U. S., at 48; accord, id., at 96 (THOMAS, J., con- curring in judgment).

This Court has yet to hold that a State’s method of execution qualifies as cruel and unusual, and perhaps understandably so. Far from seeking to superadd terror, pain, or disgrace to their executions, the States have often sought more nearly the opposite . . . “

As in prior opinions, Justice Clarence Thomas offers the most extreme view of the Eighth Amendment and insists in his concurrence that, regardless of the “alternative method” requirements of the majority, he would still allow the executive unless Bucklew could show that the chosen method was “deliberately designed to inflict pain.’” That converts the Eighth Amendment test into a test of motivation as opposed to means.

The four justices in dissent objected that the unique condition of his prisoner made the method cruel and unusual given the danger of tumors in his throat hemorrhaging, creating a “serious risk that his execution will be excruciating and grotesque.” Justice Stephen G. Breyer said Bucklew has tumors in his throat and elsewhere that could hemorrhage and cause him to suffocate. He chastised the majority for its failure to recognize evidence in the record supporting an alternative method of executive and the failure to simply send the case back down to resolve such factual issues. Breyer objects “Today’s majority appears to believe that because “[t]he Constitution allows capital punishment,” . . . the Constitution must allow capital punishment to occur quickly.”

This is a well-reasoned opinion on both sides and worth the reading.

Here s the opinion: Bucklew v. Precythe

237 thoughts on “Supreme Court: No Constitutional Guarantee Of “Painless Death” In Executions”

  1. Liberals and leftists are “funny.” They want to exact vengeance on Paul Manafort and carry out cruel and unusual punishment if they could, even though Manafort has not caused physical harm to anyone, but they want to mollycoddle cold-blooded, vicious murderers. Classic.

  2. Since the court has ruled the corporations are people, Does this mean I get to watch CEO’s and vulture capitalists who gut wages, workers, insurance, and pensions all in the name of making their golden parachutes bigger get put to death without the guarantee that it would be swift and painless? Just think of the lines of American workers that would love to see that happen. Just remember, “corporations are people too”….But I won’t believe that until Texas executes one.

    1. 1. A corporation is a legal person. By definition. That’s what renders them the subject of lawsuits, for example. Partisan Democrats fancy that corporations which favor their side (e.g. labor unions and newspapers) have rights to speak and publish but that corporations who favor the other side (e.g. Koch Industries do not).

      2. Cash compensation for ‘chief executives’ accounts for 0.5% of all cash compensation paid out to employees. See the BLS data on this point. The brobingnagian packages are paid out to a few thousand executives of abnormally large corporations. ‘Golden parachutes’ are contingent compensation paid out to the chief executives of a modest set of publicly-traded corporations. They only open if the chief executive is canned after a hostile takeover.

      3. Private companies are largely price-takers in the labor market.

      4. The value of fringe benefits per worker per year in 1973 was $1,200. In today’s currency, that amounts to $5,500 per year. As we speak, fringe benefits per worker average $13,000 per year. Fringes are not being gutted in any systematic way.

      5. Pension obligations can be ‘gutted’ only in bankruptcy proceedings.

      6. The employment-to-population ratio is currently 0.62. That’s above the median of the last generation and higher than it was in 1973. It’s not much different from other occidental countries (who generally have more sclerotic labor markets). Workers aren’t being ‘gutted’ except in your imagination.

        1. You ran away from your typo on goulash in place of ghoulish. Fooling yourself will never count as fooling anybody else.

            1. Actually, I had to look up the correct spelling of ghoulish–twice in a row.

          1. DSS referred to the wrong name which I was correcting. I didn’t bother to correct my spelling because after looking at it I thought to myself that you and the other baby killers were making goulash out of babies in the process of killing them. That is quite goulish.

  3. Executions are done in the name of all of us. We: prosecutors, judges, juries, and the public, are complicit in premeditated murder, all too frequently of the innocent or the over-charged. For those who worship the money god, executions are much more expensive than life without parole which gives organizations like the Innocence Project the opportunity to prove them innocent and subsequently released. Those who not innocent can spend the rest of their lives being cared for by state. The members of the public (and the un-just system) with the blood lust that moves them to support the cold blooded murder of executions should just go back to watching the street fighting that is now available (under another name).

      1. Now you know why the Founders generally restricted the vote to these criteria: Male, European, Age 21 with 50 lbs. Sterling or 50 acres.

        1. I doubt that George owns fifty acres. What fraction of an acre could George buy with Fifty Pounds Sterling these days? Was the Fifty Pounds Sterling annual income or net worth back in George’s day and age?

    1. MMA ? Yeah I like MMA. What’s wrong with that? See you saturday for the fights.

      Come roll, you might like it too

  4. Supreme Court: No Constitutional Guarantee Of “Painless Death” In Executions

    What is the meaning of the Bill of Rights Ammendment VIII?

    Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

    What exactly does cruel and unusal punishments inflicted mean?

    Government should never ever be given the power of life and death.

    All to often those operating the levers of power within the belly of the beast neglect their oaths/duties to the Constitution and act for soley expedient/personal motives at the expense of the nation.

    1. Since the use of the death penalty is explicitly regulated in two passages of the Constitution, the notion that the 8th Amendment debars it is ludicrous. (And one that escaped six generations of jurists ‘ere the brilliant, brilliant Wm. J. Brennan Jr came to town).

      The 8th Amendment is a declaration of sentiment. It’s too vague to provide the necessary guidance to test laws or court decisions.

      1. that’s like saying it’s surplusage. if it was surplusage it would not have been written down. like the 9th or 10th amendment yes it is vague but it must have some meaning and courts are the ones who give it teeth via the precedent and institution of judicial review. Congress can change judicial review and strip article III courts of jursidiction if it passes a law to do so. On any topic even!
        But they haven’t.

        1. Mr. Kurtz:

          True enough but it’s language is not legal language (heinous, depraved, aggravated) but moral (cruel, unusual). Thus, it is susceptible to broad interpretation by amateurs and by subjective norms of just what is cruel and unusual in the current zeitgeist. Bad language makes bad law makes bad decisions.

        2. You mean the courts are obligated to make stuff up, and not just in the interstices and on the edges. I think they should beg off.

          As for the 10th Amendment, it’s not obscure. It’s just been ignored.

          1. Its not ignored. NY v US important case and stock of const’l law curriculum


            part of our scheme of federalism. there is some plasticity in the language of the constitution which has been part of the reason for its long tenure. succeeding generations can bend it to circumstance. the ideal balance for an organic law of the state, is definite enough to mean something clear enough, but not so definite that you have to reform the foundational public law too often.

            1. part of our scheme of federalism. there is some plasticity in the language of the constitution which has been part of the reason for its long tenure. succeeding generations can bend it to circumstance.

              No, the plasticity has provided cover for willful appellate judges. The notion that the powers of Congress are delegated and limited had been demolished by 1942. Addressing the economic crisis which erupted after 1929 required certain policy measures and would have benefited from some others. Not sure how many were congruent with the Constitution as conventionally interpreted in 1929. Social Security, while a satisfactory program, is not derived from a delegated power.

          2. The courts are obligated to interpret the constitution by the accumulated wisdom of our society – see slavery for example – and within it’s language. The death penalty can easily be included in acts described as “cruel and unusual” and therefore is not in violation of the constitution.

            1. No, they’re obligated to interpret the Constitution according to the semantic content of the text.

              1. Anon says: April 2, 2019 at 5:10 PM

                The courts are obligated to interpret the constitution by the accumulated wisdom of our society – see slavery for example – and within it’s language.

                [repeated for emphasis] . . . and within it’s language.

      2. The 8th amendment is as fully a part of the constitution as the 3/5s rule for slavery was at it’s time. The biases and morals of the founders who approved that morally bankrupt language are of no particular higher standing – and did I mention they are dead – then we are at present, and less so for that reason. If the death penalty is not cruel and unusual the words have no meaning.

        1. Tell us Anon how the death penalty is unusual. I love listening to you spout off while saying nothing of value.

          1. We are the only western democracy which still applies the death penalty. It is most commonly still used in the mid-East.

            1. “We are the only western democracy ”

              I know Anon, it never crosses your mind but consensus, absent proof (something you never offer), is meaningless. The entire world thought the earth was flat. Therefore based on that consnesus you would think the earth was flat and you would be wrong like you are in almost every opinion you render.

              1. Allan asked what was unusual about the death penalty. Now that I answered him he is arguing that being unusual is irrelevant.


                1. That doesn’t make the death penalty unusual (in the context of the discussion). If I look at your piggy bank and it has pennies, nickels and quarters but no dimes doesn’t make dimes unusual. It means your piggy bank doesn’t have dimes.

                  1. But, but . . . What if Anon’s piggy bank had nothing but dimes and no pennies, nickels, nor quarters? And what if everybody else’s piggy banks had pennies, nickels and quarters but no dimes? If dimes were taken as tokens for capital punishment in this incredibly weak analogy (huh? Whaaa?), would the dimes in Anon’s piggy bank be “unusual” in comparison to the absence of dimes from everybody else’s piggy banks?

                    What’s it mean? What’s it mean?

                    1. It means that that there are ways around what L4B referred to as ,”the penalty box”.

                    2. “What’s it mean? What’s it mean?”

                      You are truly confused.

                      Are you enterring the realm of Anon’s cognitive distortion?

              2. The Noise Maker said, “. . . [C]onsensus, absent proof (something you never offer), is meaningless. The entire world thought the earth was flat.”

                Prove it, Blowhard. Prove that the entire world thought the Earth was flat. And while you’re at it consider that dogma (defined as received opinion) is no more meaningful than consensus.

                1. “Prove it”

                  Prove what Diane/ anonymous? That the maps in the day of Columbus didn’t show the earth to have an eliptical or spherical shape?

                  ” And while you’re at it consider that dogma (defined as received opinion) is no more meaningful than consensus.”

                  Where did the word ‘dogma’ enter the discussion? I get it. You make things up as you go along. Take your meds.

            2. We are the only western democracy which still applies the death penalty.

              1. Capital sentences are used in the Anglophone Caribbean

              2. You sum the population of non-Russian Europe, North America, and the Antipodes, you notice that 1/3 of the people live in the United States.

              3. Capital sentences are applied in Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, and Malaysia

              4. Back to the kid’s table with Peter Shill, where you two can fuss over what’s fashionable among the Cool Kids.

              1. “2. You sum the population of non-Russian Europe, North America, and the Antipodes, you notice that 1/3 of the people live in the United States.”

                Anon can’t help himself. He has cognitive distortion where he overgeneralizes and draws conclusions based on selective abstraction.

          1. Take note PragerU was blacklisted by Spotify that many of our young use. They miss the chance to learn about Prager and thereby learn via their videos.

            1. Allan – I’m sorry to hear that. Dennis Prager does not engage in vitriol. He’s very even tempered. I enjoy listening to his fireside chats, although I have to find better wifi to listen to them.

              1. Why? If that lame video on the 3/5s rule is representative, he’s a tool.

                1. It would have been unfair to allow slave holding states to have the representation including all of the enslaved men, women, and children they held in servitude. It’s not fair that they would have receive more power, while the powerless’s needs were not represented. I would have given them 0 credit for slaves. However, then they would not have joined the Union.

                  Those are just my thoughts on the matter of the 3/5 Compromise. I am no expert.

                  The final result was that we fought a civil war over slavery, and were on the forefront of abolishing that evil practice. Slavery was a global sin, going back from before recorded time. It still exists today in Africa. I hope one day the planet will finally be free of that vile practice. The only way for that to happen is for the idea to spread that everyone has individual rights that no ruler can take away.

                  1. Karen, take note what Anon says: “If that lame video on …” Is there content in what Anon says? No. Does he add anything? No. He closes what little mind he has injecting an insult. Anon started out that way as Jan F. so I don’t think we can expect much more than the vitriol Anon and Jan F. have provided to the blog already.

                2. The purpose of the video is to explain the provisions contents, history, and motives. It’s not to provide you with emotional validation.

          2. Many of the “founders” were slave holders from the south, including 4 of our 1st 5 presidents. F… their opinions on moral questions of our day.

            1. Anon, you don’t understand. Please allow me to explain. [Sarcasm Alert]:

              The supposed fact that some of the authors of The Three-Fifths Compromise represented the Free States while others represented the Slave States necessarily entails that ALL of the Framers of The Constitution were Anti-Slavery. Consequently, The American Civil War was an inscrutable fluke of history.

              And always remember: Liberals are not normal adults.

            2. Anon – Slavery was a heinous crime.

              No one 20 years ago or earlier had modern opinions. When I was a child, Pollack and Dumb Blonde jokes were the norm. Kids called each other retarded. As a teenager, people called each other fag as an epithet. Down Syndrome used to be called Mongolian Idiot. People with handicaps that exhibited genius in a specialty were called idiot savants. I cringe to what I thought was hilarious or normal as a child. None of that would fly now, and I do not know why it flew then. It was normal and everyone accepted it.

              What about our generation will the future ones find abhorrent? Will all of our discoveries and thoughts be discarded because our social mores become irrelevant or outdated?

              The great philosophers supported slavery. Were we to discard Aristotle and Plato, and every thinker and writer from antiquity to 1999, then we have lobotomized our collective wisdom. It is better to discard their prejudices and keep the wisdom.

              1. Karen, not sure exactly what your point was regarding dumb blondes, etc, but the problem with the slavery owning founders was not their individual morality – though it could be questioned by the few abolitionists of their day – but that of their times. We and civilization have advanced in many moral ways. No more lynch mobs. When the King of England cut off heads it was common. Now virtually the entire world gags watching ISIS videos. That’s good.

                Then we have Prager trying to pretend – as absurd did here – that the 3/5s rule was somehow a progressive idea meant to pacify and accommodate some unnamed slave holdinging villains. Well, those villains included the principal writer of the Constitution, many of it’s signers, and 4 of our first 5 presidents.

                Are we up to improving on their moral vision? Hell yes. Is that even a question? The morality of our times is better than was theirs, which is why “original intent” is a saddle of flawed and primitive emotions. Our obligation is to improve on the valuable legacy our founders left, not fetishize it and them. That goes to their original intent of our flexible constitution, not the outmoded moral rules of their day.

              2. Karan, you are talking to a jackass (Anon) who probably thinks Plato is the planet Pluto. Anon doesn’t think. He is a knee jerk.

        2. The biases and morals of the founders who approved that morally bankrupt language are of no particular higher standing –

          The 3/5 compromise was an apportionment formula. Different factions at the convention favored different formulae and this one was derived in order to split the difference between them. It’s no more morally bankrupt than duct tap and twine. You either had an incompetent history teacher or you get what you say from talking point mills.

          1. 4 out 5 of our 1st presidents – including the primary author of the constitution – and many signers were slave holders from southern states. You write as if they were just innocent pragmatists dealing with monsters unnamed.

            I think we can do better.

            1. Anon, once again you fail to understand. [Sarcasm Alert]

              The peculiar institution of chattel slavery was the moral bankruptcy at issue. The Three Fifths Compromise was . . . (What did he call it?) . . . An apportionment formula that allowed The United States to levy a capitation, or direct tax, upon the owners of slaves. And that means that ALL of The Framers of The Constitution were Pro-Slavery. Thus, once again, The American Civil War remains the utmost inscrutable fluke in the human history of the world.

            2. “I think we can do better.”

              Anon thinks he is smarter and more able than Washington and Jefferson.

              Delusions of grandeur.

                1. “I don’t own any slaves.”

                  That is only because you can’t. You have a slave owner’s mentality. Your ideology would eventually make slaves of all of us. The slave owners (not justifying them) took the slave’s work product for free. You would like to take everyone’s work product in the same fashion.

                  Read Hayek’s Road to Serfdom.

                  The original words were life, liberty and property (pursuit of happiness)

                2. Anon – some of the greatest thinkers of mathematics in antiquity were slave holders. They did not hold modern Western views.

                  If you discard all inventions, philosophy, art, writing, and any other achievement of anyone prior to 1999 because they do not have modern Western views, then you would reduce civilization to reinventing the wheel, fire, and wearing animal skins as clothing.

                  Do not discard the entirety of Western civilization, or indeed the global repository of accomplishments, because as you work your way back through time, you get farther away from today’s values.

                  1. Anon – also, you do not own slaves because it is illegal in the US, and has been since around 1865. No one that you ever knew owned slaves. No one for generations owned slaves. You were raised to understand it was a terrible crime committed against millions of people.

                    There is nothing to crow about that someone raised in that environment does not own slaves.

                    Go back in time and be born into a world of slavery, where slavery has always existed throughout human history, and be born into a slave holding family, raised in a slavery world, and then become an abolitionist. That would be a moral accomplishment.

                    This reminds me of a scene in one of Diana Gabaldon’s books where 1940s WWII nurse Claire travels back in time. At one point, she buys an abused slave and frees him. She was conflicted about vehemently being against slavery, and yet becoming a slave owner herself. Although she did it to help him, and freed him, the purchase made her a slave owner.

                    1. Karen, I am a product of my times – guilty. I like to think I am reflective enough to make my own moral judgments – I was involved in the CR movement in the Deep South before segregation ended for instance and it wasn’t popular – but that is small potatoes. If my previous two posts didn’t make it clear enough, I think what the founders left us is of lasting and important value and was a political culmination of the Enlightenment, but like us, for better and worse, they were of their time and we of ours. We are acting better so far and improving on our country – see Civil Rights, women’s voting, no lynchings, better health and general welfare. Let’s not screw it up by making a fetish out of the founders. That is not what they sought.

            3. Hereditary subjection was the rule throughout the occidental world at the time, with some exceptions. It had disappeared in Alpine zones during the Renaissance and had effectively dissipated in Britain and France (de facto, not de jure). In the northern and middle colonies, term-limited subjection had been the order-of-the-day.

              If you weren’t an attitudinizing jack-wagon, you’d ask how these men governed their estates and what kind of life their dependents had.

            4. Anon – since slavery has existed since before recorded time to the present, it is anachronistic to expect modern Western views on slavery to have been prominent prior to 1776. There were abolitionists, but even they often did not hold views in accordance with 2019. For instance, I doubt that all abolitionists in 1776 believed in women’s suffrage.

              This is the reality of the entire world’s past. You can’t hold it against them that they did not abolish slavery earlier. It was a monumental step at the time of the Civil War. It’s like being furious that the invention of the wheel didn’t happen a hundred years earlier.

              Slavery still exists in the African continent. Do you hate Africa, Africans, or African immigrants like you do our country’s founders from nearly 300 years ago? After all, modern day slavery in Africa exists at a time when the Western world has abolished it. At the time of our founders, it existed in all four corners of the world and always had.

              1. Karen, see my previous post above in response to you. I’m not holding the primitive views and horrible ethics of that period against them. I recognize they were products of their time and I fully credit our founders for leaving a very workable and mostly fair system of government for us. However, we are smarter, we know more, and the ethics of our times is vastly superior to theirs, not to mention it is a different world in many ways that they could not have envisioned. Good enough that they left us a flexible document and system. Brilliant in fact. But why would we seek their “original intent” on issues like what “cruel and unusual punishment” is when they were cool with slavery? WTF?

                1. “But why would we seek their “original intent” …”

                  If you knew your history Anon you would know that they did not feel that the Constitution was the last word. That is why the amendment process exists.

                    1. Your point is NOT noted Anon as the original intent of the founders was to use the amendment process which is what made the Constitution flexible but not so flexible that foolish ideas held at one short moment in time could suddenly change the nature of the Constitution.

                      Your idea of flexibility, I think, is the idea of rapid change without thought. That type of thinking can easily enslave a segment of the population and that is already starting to happen. Remember Hitler was legally elected and the powers of Germany were transferred over to him instead of being preserved. The then Democratic Republic became a despotic regime..

                    2. OK Allan since you posted without calling me every ridiculous name in the book for change, though you implied I favor policies which lead to the 4th Reich right here in River City, I’ll respond.

                      I don;t think the founders anticipated amendments to clarify things like what cruel and unusual punishment meant, itself a phrase in an amendment. If the authors meant something specific, they could have said that, but thankfully they didn’t. It is left to us to decide it’s meaning and that could change over time without leading to slavery and Nazis.

                    3. “you implied I favor policies which lead to the 4th Reich ”

                      If the implication fits, wear it. Your rhetoric doesn’t clearly define a specific type of despotism but it suggests that a lack of foresight leads you towards despotism perhaps with the intent of doing good. I’ll quote George Bernard Shaw: “Hell is paved with good intentions, not bad ones”

                      “I don;t think the founders anticipated amendments to clarify things like what cruel and unusual punishment meant”

                      The history of their intent is written along with the rationals behind their fears. I don’t think 9 Justices can make a definition that stands the test of time, do you? I’m not sure if the death penalty is somethng you consider cruel and unusual. The death penalty existed in colonial times and exists today. That is something that the people of each state have to decide but remember those murdered and subjected to the death of family members were treated cruely for they were innocent and the murderer guilty. I personally don’t have a strong allegiance to either side of the debate.

                      I do have a strong allegieance to a colorblind society where everyone is equal under the law and a person is judged by his character and not by his race, color or ethnicity. What we hear frequently from you is a desire to polarize the nation based on tribalism. That is very dangerous and has been utilized by the greatest killers of the 20th century.

  5. How ironic that the pure, holy, religious Bart Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch not only overlook the biblical provision of “vengeance is mine, says the Lord”, they actually construe the Constitution to allow foreseeable extra pain when the person to be executed has a unique health condition. I’m sure Mikey Pence and his butt-ugly wife would be on board, too, since they are also so deeply religious. She even teaches art (a subject requiring talent and soulfulness, of which she has neither) at a school that does not allow LGBT faculty. After all, they regularly pose, smiling, next to a lying narcissist racist who brags about assaulting women and who cages innocent children, who cheats on his wife, pays off women and then lies about it. No problem.

    The United States is the only major country allowing capital punishment. It is also the only major country without universal health care.

    1. How ironic that the pure, holy, religious Bart Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch not only overlook the biblical provision of “vengeance is mine, says the Lord”, they actually construe the Constitution to allow foreseeable extra pain when the person to be executed has a unique health condition.

      Their job is to apply the law, not to apply your addle-pated understanding of Biblical passages. Read the late Avery Dulles, SJ if you want to understand the Church’s actual historic teaching on criminal justice.

      It’s also just like you as an agent to take seriously some specious bit of rubbish a seedy pair of ‘public interest’ lawyers cooked up to give judges cover for scotching a duly prescribed capital sentence. The people who came up with this argument likely do not take it seriously, but you do.

      Guess what? Taking the life out of someone can cause them pain. There’s no way around that. They’re not setting him on fire or dismembering him or taking out his bowels. The complaint is morally trivial.

      1. A firing squad would be a more proper means for executing this prisoner. Firing squads are allowed under the 8th amendment. Last used in 2010 by request. Hangings are not a sure means unless properly done and they had a bad record. Gas chamber executions were sketchy too. Lethal injection should be easy in theory but in practice have some problems. Firing squads are actually the best. But people are too weak to stomach this. That is too bad. So we have bad situations because of stupid journalists, more than stupid lawyers.

        The means should not be extremely painful under the 8th amendment. It sounds like a legit appeal to me. Give the convict a firing squad. Problem solved.

        1. Mr Kurtz, I agree that a firing squad is a valid and sure option. If requested it should be accommodated.

          This criminal does not seem to be requesting another method, but rather a stay.

          1. Mr. Kurtz,
            There were two executions by hanging in my hometown in the 1990s.
            In both cases the inmates had the option of lethal injection of hanging; neither
            expressed a preference, and on those cases the established method…..hanging….
            was the ‘”default” method used.
            Both inmates were guilt of a combination of factors….multiple victims, children murdered, rape….that made them eligible for the death penalty.
            “Aggravating factors” that most murderers didn’t meet, in a state that made sparse use of the death penalty.
            (Current Governor Inslee….now also an announced presidential candidate….ordered a moritorium on all executions several years ago).
            The first 1990s hanging drew multiple media outlets flooding a relatively small community of c.30,000.
            The second one, a year later, drew less coverage but I noticed it was mentioned in the New York Times and some of publications.
            I showed the New York Times newspaper to a young friend who knew I was a long-term resident of that town.
            Her jaw dropped, and she said “you actually HANG people up there?!?”.
            I assured her that we “almost always” had a trial first, but I think she still remained shocked by the news.

    2. The Bible also recommends stoning in a lot of places. I am pretty sure stoning would be worse than lethal injection. Surely you are not a BIble Thumper Anon so don’t be fake

    3. Arguably, Japan, China, and India are “major countries” that allow the death penalty.

  6. Why no go with a system of executions based on the Liberals Idea of Fairness?
    The method of execution should cause as much or as little pain and suffering to the one being executed as he or she caused to his or her victims.
    That way everybody’s happy all around, well except the perp who forfeited the right to happiness the moment he or she did the crime.

    1. Torture doesn’t just harm the victim, it corrupts and harms the system and people that administer it. Even if the victim was properly condemned in the first place.

      Nobody healthy wants to torture others. But a healthy person can wish to kill under just circumstances. Righteous justice sooner kills than tortures. This is well known to sane people.

      1. Torture was traditionally used to extract a confession of one sort or another. Torture as a punishment is more properly termed corporal punishment. The purpose of the punishment is not entirely negligible. For instance, a fair bit of what goes on in basic training for our troops could be construed as corporal punishment. But it is not typically done for the purpose of penalizing law-breakers.

  7. How have we gotten to the point where it is argued humans convicted of capital crimes deserve to live and humans innocent of any crimes deserve to die? There is some seriously twisted and demented rationalizing going on here.

    1. Some observers are of the opinion that an exercise of State power differs from an exercise of individual civil liberties. Now, if the State claimed the right to force pregnant women to abort their fetus(es), then that sort of an exercise of State power would probably infringe upon the individual civil liberties of those women.

    2. Also, the notion that a convicted murderer deserves to die can be admitted without also conceding that the State deserves to kill that convicted murderer. The State can, and does, exercise the power to kill in the defense of The Nation. That is at least roughly analogous to a sworn law-enforcement officer using lethal force to prevent a fleeing felon from doing harm to the general public. It is not, however, especially analogous to the use of lethal force in self defense when confronted by the imminent threat of lethal force being deployed against oneself. Even so, there is a gray area that allows for the principle of self-defense (justifiable homicide) to be extended in the manner of a shield to protect the lives of those who cannot defend themselves when they are confronted with the imminent threat of lethal force being deployed against them.

      BTW, thanks for asking, Chief.

  8. This execution (killing) should be shown on national television. He shot and killed someone with a gun so he should be shot in the head until dead.

  9. China kills 2 birds with 1 stone….Executed prisoners & healthcare system

    China is still harvesting organs from prisoners at a massive scale

    China is still engaged in the widespread and systematic harvesting of organs from prisoners, people whose views conflict with the ruling Chinese Communist Party. “The (Communist Party) says the total number of legal transplants is about 10,000 per year. But we can easily surpass the official Chinese figure just by looking at the two or three biggest hospitals.”

    So who is being killed? The authors say mainly imprisoned religious and ethnic minorities, including Uyghurs, Tibetans, underground Christians, and practitioners of the banned Falun Gong spiritual movement.

  10. Until we develop a fool-proof way of determining guilt or innocence, capital punishment should be banned. This blog proves why. We all have seen and heard the same evidence and yet some believe passionately that President Trump is a criminal while others believe just as passionately that he is not. The same thing can happen in any trial, even one for capital murder. In a civilized society, there are few things more horrible than the state executing an innocent person, mainly because it cannot be undone if and when proof of innocence comes to light. Admittedly, there is no reason to believe that a lot of innocent people have been sentenced to death, but the ones we know about should be enough to make us remove capital punishment as an option.

    1. Agree. There are very few logical arguments for capital punishment. As demonstrated here, they boil down to blood lust.

      1. Anon:
        No they boil down to protecting first responders, cops and prison guards on duty and setting of standards to protect innocent or defenseless life. Perhaps they are not interests worthy of concern in your world view, but to most people they are of concern. Looking past your ideology is hard for you. I get it.

        1. mespo is no longer Catholic for a reason: he is his own gawd.
          Bacteria are a threat whereas humans can always be detained, prevented from hurting others and can still have their God given nature preserved. Bacteria not so much

          1. Thanks, Fr. Anon. How many Hail Mary’s did you prescribe for me? Maybe you should read Aquinas on capital punishment.

            Therefore if a man be dangerous and infectious to the community, on account of some sin, it is praiseworthy and advantageous that he be killed in order to safeguard the common good . . . . ST IIa-IIae, q. 64, a. 2.

            It is permissible to kill a criminal if this is necessary for the welfare of the whole community. However, this right belongs only to the one entrusted with the care of the whole community — just as a doctor may cut off an infected limb, since he has been entrusted with the care of the health of the whole body. ST IIa-IIae, q. 64, a. 3.

            Is he Catholic enough for you or as well versed in Canon Law as yourself? On second thought, you need the Hail Mary’s.

        2. There is no evidence that capital punishment is an effective deterrent, so we are again left with blood lust as exemplified by the ghoulish responses of those favoring it on this site.

            1. What is more goulash than murdering a baby?
              Calling it an exercise in freedom rather than selfish whim.

              1. Allan says: April 2, 2019 at 3:51 PM

                YNOT are you totally ignorant of the subject matter or are you just totally ignorant?

                Allan says: April 2, 2019 at 5:27 PM

                DSS, It was a misplaced reply to YNOT.

          1. Anon:

            “There is no evidence that capital punishment is an effective deterrent …”
            There’s every evidence that it’s a wonderful primary deterrent and that in and of itself renders it useful. It’s efficacy as a secondary deterrent depends on the sensibilities of the population.

          2. There is no evidence that capital punishment is an effective deterrent,

            To anyone remotely familiar with how a literature review is conducted and how a bibliography is assembled, remarks like this are unreal. From which talking-point mill did you crib this sentiment?

        3. Mespo,
          That’s a good point; while most murderers disappear from public view after getting a life sentence, they don’t disappear from the planet.
          In a town where at least 1,000 guards and staff work in an environment with c.2500 inmates, I know a lot of people who work/worked at the Washington State Pen.
          They have a somewhat different, more complete perspective and knowledge of what’s involved in controlling a facility like that.
          Not all of the “lifers” and others aren’t what you’d call docile.
          Another “death penalty factor” is plea deals when the death penalty is taken off the table.
          I don’t know the numbers, but you don’t have to look very far to find cases where either cooperation in convicting accomplices, or a plea deal avoiding a trial, are a result of prosecutors having the option of pressing for the death penalty.
          I don’t know if there’s any kind of consensus among prosecutors on this issue, but it seems that if you take the possibility of a death sentence completely off the table in all cases, it’d limit the options that prosecutors have in certain extreme cases.

          1. Do you want to execute all violent criminals? Or just all murderers? I suspect that violent criminals who were not convicted of murder might be just as dangerous to the prison guards as the ones who had been convicted of murder.

            1. If that question is for me, I’d probably be willing to vote for the death penalty in certain extreme cases….without listing all of the characteristics of those extreme circumstances, there’s have to be the “aggravating factors” like multiple murders committed in conjunction with other crimes.
              I’d also have to be absolutely certain ( let’s say as a juror in the penalty phase) of the person’s guilt, not just convinced of guilt beyond “a reasonable doubt”.
              Outside of those circumstances, I can’t think of other circumstances where I might actually support the death penalty; maybe if the state sanctioned it for trolls and sock puppets, I’d support that as well

              1. Did you know that there are violent crimes besides murder? If the death penalty protects prison guards from murderers, then why couldn’t the death penalty protect prison guards from, say, wife beaters, for instance?

          2. My source in the DOJ put a man on death row but js personally opposed to the death penalty. In his case the victim’s family did not want the death penalty, without which charge the defendant was ready to plead guilty. The US Attorney – a W appointee – with consultation with Washington decided on that charge for at least partly the political benefits..

            1. PS To Tom’s point, while the issue has never come up in my many discussions with him – he often runs his cases with me before trial for civilian input – he has never brought up the death penalty leverage effect as a bargaining chip, and in RICO gang prosecutions he’s done, murder was part of the charges. Doesn’t mean that it not an effective chip but I don’t think he has used it.

              1. Anon,
                In the case of The Green River killer, who was guilty of at least 48 murders that he acknowledged, his life sentence (v. a death sentence…he “qualified” and then some for the death penalty) was negotiated in return for the guilty plea.
                But moreover, the deal required his full cooperation in helping authorities find the remains of his victims.
                That’s one example of where having the death penalty still on the books can be used by the criminal justice system.
                Another mass murderer in the same state negotiated a similar deal with prosecutors in Spokane and Walla Walla Counties.
                I’m not sure if he subsequently followed through on completely on his part of the deal.
                Pierce County (Tacoma area) was not part of that plea bargain deal and he was sentenced to death a few years after the other plea deals.
                The governor’s moritorium on executions and other factors make it unlikely that he’ll ever been executed.
                His crime spree dates back to at least 1975 and spanned several counties; given that he’s in his late 60s now and the moritorium, etc. it’s likely that he’ll die of old age in prison.
                If there are still unanswered questions about where the remains of his victims are, the number of his victims, etc., he has no incentive to cooperate.
                Stacking on more “consecutive” life sentences isn’t that big of a threat to someone who has already been sentenced to one.

                1. Tom – A good point, but in my opinion not sufficient to justify the death penalty.

      2. Well. I ask you this: how do you deter someone who is already serving life sentences from committing other heinous crimes in jail? The only superior punishment is execution.

        Solitary punishment in a prolonged time is definitely cruel and unusual. It certainly is forbidden by the Eight Amendment even if this is not well enforced.

        Hence, we must preserve the legality of the death sentence if only for use in such extreme circumstances.

        On the other hand if we brought back corporal punishment, such as caning in Singapore, we might see a good solution to this quandry. I suspect a good beating with a cane, delivered after a fair trial, administered dispassionately with proper safeguards, would deter a lot of lifetime prisoners from more mischief.

        I would trade an end to the death penalty, and overlong solitary confinements, for properly administered corporal punishments. I am completely serious and believe this is fertile ground for reform.

        1. t certainly is forbidden by the Eight Amendment

          Nothing is forbidden by the 8th Amendment. Appellate judges use their imagination and put ‘8th Amendment’ in the footnotes.

          1. cruel and unusual punishment is forbidden

            here is the text. read it.

            “Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.”

            solitary drives people crazy. it is necessary under some circumstances. it is certainly cruel for an extreme duration. but, feel free to stake out an ill informed position, even though it distracts from all your good points. that can be fun and amusing

            1. There’s nothing in the text of the 8th Amendment precluding its application to corporal punishment nor restricting its application to capital punishment.

      3. Women who kill the developing child within the womb are blood lust, selfish, reckless and should be sterilized so that they never kill another child again….ever.


        1. Capital punishment is an exercise of State power. Abortion is not an exercise of State power. Forced sterilizations, however, would be an exercise of State power. And forced abortions would also be an exercise of State power. What else would you have the State do with its power?

      4. “Agree. There are very few logical arguments for capital punishment.”

        All one needs is one good logical argument to make a case. Then you need statistics but statistics (like the unemployment U 6 numbers) are above your abilities.

          1. But, Anon, I made the argument earlier and since you don’t respond to argument ie healthcare, U6 etc. why should anyone provide you with anything? AS Olly has told me many times, it is a waste of time.

        1. My sister in law was murdered. My wife opposes the death penalty.
          Victim’s families are not uniform on this as a death penalty conviction means years of court proceedings and high drama.
          The family of the condemned suffer a similar fate as the victim’s family and are not guilty parties.

    2. I concur. I would also add that man should not be making this decision. This goes for the unborn also.

      1. There is no one else to make the decision. Like everything we do of a serious nature, we just need to do it wisely.

        1. I would submit that “we” are not and never will be wise enough to determine life extinguishment.

          1. I agree, though there are times we are forced into it. The death penalty is not one of those times.

        1. “life” is on both sides of your statement. Regardless of the preceding words, life is still life.

          1. Jim22:

            ” life is still life”

            You’re too smart for that. Staph bacteria is life too. Wanna go all Jain on that and defend it like it’s your newborn? Even if you limit it to human life, do you want to sacrifice yourself is attacked? Killing murderers is society defending itself through primary as well as secondary deterrence.

            1. Well, I’m pretty sure you knew I wasn’t talking about bacteria. And also, stop spreading rumors of me being smart. Yes, I do believe in self defense since it is an inalienable right. But once caught and sentenced, where is the threat to society? Now, let me be also clear, I am all for prison reform where we remove the country club appeal of it and get them back to a real punishment and make them as self sustaining as possible.

              1. Jim, while it is fine to pontificate over the killing of another individual no matter how heinous he might be don’t you think we need to also pay attention to the innocents that were killed along with those that might be killed in the future? What about closure for the family’s victims? Do they not count?

                We have had murderer’s released from custody only to kill again.

                1. Do you want to execute all convicted murderers? Or just some of them? I ask because the one’s who don’t get executed had victims, too. And most of those victims probably had surviving family members as well.

                  1. “Do you want to execute all convicted murderers? Or just some of them?”

                    I can accept either scenario if the laws are appropriately drawn. However, let us not forget that the federal government only controls those killers under federal jurisdiction and the individual states individually control the rules under their jurisdiction.

                    You are talking as if only one rule could apply.

    3. Until we develop a fool-proof way of determining guilt or innocence, capital punishment should be banned.

      We don’t have a fool-proof way of doing anything. Life goes on.

      You really can’t build a good-faith argument which says John Wayne Gacy was innocent.

      1. Well, life doesn’t go on for the innocent wrongly executed, which is exactly the point.

        There is no logical reason for the death penalty other than primitive blood lust.

        1. Well, life doesn’t go on for the innocent wrongly executed, which is exactly the point.

          No it isn’t. You’d never insist in any other circumstance that some practice should be error-free. In a world populated with human beings, it never will be. And you’d not give any thought to obscure and unfortunate cases unless you could make a polemical point out of them.

          There is no logical reason for the death penalty other than primitive blood lust.

          No logical reason? Sir, logic is aid to reasoning (or,perhaps more precisely, a component of reasoning) and that’s all. That Gene Roddenberry’s screenwriters didn’t get that is no excuse for you.

          1. We are not forced by any looming action or existential threat into performing the death penalty on anyone, therefore we are under no pressures to force us into a decision made in error. There are circumstances in life where we must act without full knowledge of the just nature or consequences of an act, or face dire consequences. This isn’t one of them.

            I note your denigrating of reason in this discussion – a common position of yours though not before announced

        2. “There is no logical reason for the death penalty other than primitive blood lust.”

          I guess Anon’s blood lust is satisfied by the killing of babies already born.

      2. If we want to keep on living, it’s necessary that life goes on. Capital punishment isn’t necessary.

        1. It isn’t necessary to any object you have. It is necessary to objects others have, which is one reason it’s on the books.

          1. Capital punishment is something is something that WE do, It isn’t necessary for any object that WE have,

          2. Dying – bad choice of words – to hear what these “objects others have” are.

            1. He’s using the word “object” in the sense of “goal, aim. or purpose.” Nowadays (under the influence of military planning) most people use “objective” as a noun for that original sense of the word–even though the root refers to throwing a dart or javelin at a target. Go figure.

      3. He was monstrous and he was not innocent, but his conviction was rife with reversible errors.

        Illinois courts have a bad history of error in capital cases. And he was executed even as other people were being exonerated from death row.

        We should question a lot of our premises about crime and punishment. Mass incarceration makes a lot of problems and perps far worse.

        Corporal punishment needs another look.

        1. Mass incarceration makes a lot of problems and perps far worse.

          It does nothing of the kind.

          1. He’s alluding to the penitentiaries being training camps for the criminal element pending parole.

        2. but his conviction was rife with reversible errors.

          ‘Errors’ of the sort which are of no interest to anyone who doesn’t earn his living in criminal defense practice.

          1. On the contrary there were serious errors of procedure and fundamental fairness. These kinds of errors if tolerated can make for other unjust prosecutions against other people.

            Gacy was guilty of despicable and heinous crimes but his conviction was not a particular example of correct process. His execution could have been stayed, and he would have remained in jail. Letting him out was not on the table in the last instance.

            It’s important that the most despicable and loathsome criminals get a fair trial. Reversals and double jeopardy can create a dangerous situation for society, but are protections that we all enjoy. And so prosecutors must be smart. Where a loathsome criminal is going on trial, it is sometimes smart to save a few possible charges as unplead, in case they botch the main ones.

            Crook county has a bad record of electing rotten prosecutors. Kim Foxx is on show now as just the same.

            These are difficult problems and we should all be glad that there are serious people involved in criminal defense. Without a serious criminal defense bar, this country could end up with a horrible situation like China were instead of the feds getting a 90% conviction rate, which is pretty high, they would get a 99.9% rate which pretty much means they can say whatever they like and it all comes down to bribery.

            Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good. Our protections for due process are not perfect but they are good.

            1. On the contrary there were serious errors of procedure and fundamental fairness. These kinds of errors if tolerated can make for other unjust prosecutions against other people.

              You keep asserting that. There’s a reason I’m not taking you seriously.

              1. I don’t care if you like what i say or not.

                If your lawyer is falling asleep during witness examinations then you probably did not have effective assistance of counsel. That is fundamental to due process. For example.

                How seriously incompetent is the Illinois court system? It has been a long time and appears that’s still the case. The public defenders assigned to capital cases need to be minimally competent, that is critical. Federal courts can get it right, why not states?

                Actually it is precisely cases like Gacy’s which show the utterly serious importance of competence in both the prosecution and defense.

                I probably am not expressing myself well. As usual.

                1. They located 29 bodies in his crawl space. That he didn’t get the procedural hearing he was due under Butterfinger v. Sloopnagle is not an appreciable injury to him. The appellate courts of Illinois spent (IIRC) 13 years screwing with the case.

    4. honestlawyermostly:

      I’ve vacillated on this topic feeling both appalled and satisfied. Most modern forensic driven capital criminal cases have no lingering doubts and in my experience juries with doubts don’t vote to kill. I’d keep it for heinous crimes that we all can define: murdering a cop/prison guard on duty; murder of a child; gruesome and depraved murder or murders committed under special circumstances as defined by the legislature. Most civilized societies in antiquity had capital punishment though it was rarely carried out. That’s our experience today and I see no compelling reason to change it. There will never be perfect justice so long as humans are at the helm but there can be fair justice. That’s all you’re guaranteed.

      1. My stance maybe boils down to this. Would I be willing to “throw the switch”? If not or I am hesitant, then I know deep inside, something is wrong. If I am willing to do the act without hesitation, then am I no better then the executed and thus something is wrong deep inside.

        Wouldn’t a true test for mankind be to find value in even the worst?

        1. Jim22:

          “Wouldn’t a true test for mankind be to find value in even the worst?”

          No, not really. That’s new age “irony for irony’s sake” thinking. It’s the worst for a reason and the reason is it’s very bad. It’s the modern moral confusion that inclusion is the prime goal. Actually, exclusion of wickedness is the prime goal of a moral system. And just because I’m too squeamish to excise a cancer doesn’t mean that I would prevent others from doing so.

      2. In a typical year in this country there are about 70 bloc homicides cleared by law enforcement. There are also a few serial killers identified and convicted. There are about 350 double-homicides cleared in a typical year, some of which are appended to other heinous felonies like kidnapping and torture. You also have a few mafia kingpins who’ve been conspirators in multiple murders. These are proper candidates for executions. (NB, our odious appellate judiciary pretends it is ‘unconstitutional’ for legislatures to specify the circumstances in which the capital sentence applies, insisting that the discretion of courts must not be constrained. Then our odious public interest bar complains about haphazard application of capital sentences. Chutzpah).

        1. well, I am ok to criticize the public interest bar, which is full of a lot of pious frauds, but don’t let the government off the hook.

          how about the government that lets serial killers like Sammy the Bull Gravano walk just so they can get a few socalled kingpins? that’s the doings of the socalled tough on crime prosecutors.

          the overuse of plea bargains in criminal defense needs another look. especially where sexual abuse and rape of children is regularly plead down to other lesser trivialities.

      3. Mespo, I’ve always been attracted to “cities of refuge” as a means of dealing with murder, whether capital or not. The concept is that if a person kills one family member/ close friend then the other family members/ close friends can hunt that person down and kill him if they get to him before he makes it to a city of refuge. Once there, the accused will be given a trial. That would satisfy the “blood lust” I justifiably would feel if my own family or close friends were involved but would give the accused who may be wrongly accused a fighting chance. I know the concept has some flaws but we could easily fashion it after sanctuary cities which, obviously, have worked so well.

        As to juries, generally I agree with you. I don’t do criminal law but in my civil practice I’d say juries get it right at least 95% of the time. That’s why I believe so strongly in our system. My problem is that from what I read, guilty verdicts in capital cases seem to depend to a degree on the location of the trial. A guilty verdict in Harris County (Houston) is much more likely than a guilty verdict in Travis County (Austin). I’m not sure what that means but it bothers me.

        1. I had a cousin back in Europe a century back or so, whose daughter was raped. He murdered the rapist. This was justice. It was a remote and mountainous region where the authorities never had a strong hand and probably still don’t. And then he murdered his brothers. This was a necessity to protect the rest of our family from them taking revenge in turn.

          Then the job was done. A law abiding person, he turned himself in to the gendarmes. He was tried and found guilty of the subsequent murders of the brothers and then executed. Then our family had a party to celebrate in his honor. May he rest in peace!

          1. Mr. Kurtz, very interesting story about your European cousin. Like your post points out, there were enforced limits on a blood feud. Killing the rapist not only was acceptable, it was a recognized right (if not duty) of the nearest relation. Killing the raptist’s innocent brothers, however, violated the rules of the blood feud and so your cousin paid with his life.

            1. Rather, it was BECAUSE of the rules of blood feud that my cousin had to kill the rapist’s brothers. They were innocent, but could not have looked the other way. They would have been alive and obligated to kill him in turn and then his brothers would have had to kill them. My cousin ended it in one fell swoop by killing their family off first. So we (my lineal ancestor and collaterals) survived. And he paid the price.

              And it was BECAUSE of his respect for law that he turned himself in. It was because of the law of the modern state, that he had to be executed, because those laws were properly trying to bring order to that remote region of Europe which had blood feuds from time immemorial.

              My cousin became an example to our family, of acting according to time;ess customs and necessity, while also coexisting with the proper laws of the modern state. Sometimes, however, superior values like that will put the individual in a bind. The individual must sacrifice his own life pleasures and opportunities to protect the group at whatever cost. So he did what he did for the family.

              But now we can all follow the law. I respect the law. In America this would not be a necessity, because we have a stronger state which can impose just punishments and forestall the need for vendetta. Law is itself born out of necessity and better laws administered by a stronger state can create more positive opportunities for social coexistence.

              I might add that he was a Christian and even though this was a secular state at the time, he would have been given the opportunity to make a proper confession, so he needn’t have feared hell for his deeds, assuming the priest considered it a proper contrition. I am not sure of that detail factually but it was surely a consideration for him as well.

              Protestants might not understand that last thing, but a Catholic or an Orthodox could. In many ways, Catholicism/ Orthodoxy is a more forgiving religion than the Protestant version of Christianity.

        2. Not a fan of the city of refuge system because its too much like getting to base in a game of tag. I prefer the family choice rule: That is to say the family of the victim gets to prescribe the punishment within a circumscribed range of punishment. For example, in a murder case the family can opt for prison time, corporal punishment meted out by the state or probation with reasonable terms set by the court to include working for charity. It gives the victims some say in the process.

          1. Mespo– In case I was unclear, cities of refuge was offered up by my tongue which was in my cheek. The most remarkable thing about the idea is that it lasted for centuries and still is in existence in some parts of the world today. One writer suggested that the closest modern day analogy in the US is to street gangs where, if you make it back to your own territory, you have a level of protection from the retribution of other gangs.

            1. hlm:

              I thought you were joshing but I’m serious about the family/victim choice system that Europe employed for many centuries.

    5. I agree with your conclusion that capital punishment is wrong, especially since there is this biblical provision that says: “vengeance is mine, says the Lord”. The state doesn’t create life and has no right to deliberately take life as a means of punishment, because the right to determine proper punishment belongs to God. I disagree with your belief that supporters and detractors of Trump see facts differently, because the perceptions of Trumpsters are not fact-based. Those who believe Trump is a criminal base their feelings on facts–contacts with Russians and lying about it; also: constant lying, petty, childish insults aimed at anyone who disagrees with him or doesn’t give him his way, and the constant need for attention and adulation, which are signs of a narcissistic personality disorder, just for starters. Those who overlook those facts base their feelings on discipleship–it really doesn’t matter how many lies Trump tells, how many women he assaulted and then bragged about it, how many policy failures, how many times he over-rode security concerns and handed out top security clearances for questionable people, and so forth. They are true believers, and their belief is faith-based: faith that white people are getting a raw deal and that Trumpy Bear will make it all good again by making America white again. Along with this goes the notion that anyone who disagrees is stupid, evil or in chaoots with the Clintons, all of which is driven by a deep-state conspiracy that hero Trump will vanquish. Therefore, since mainstream media are in on the plot, they can’t be believed when they report negative things about Trump. They receive their daily affirmation from Faux News, Rush Limbaugh and Sinclair Broadcasting.

  11. Once again the pain of the victims of these animals is forgotten. As he shot, bludgeoned and raped his victims did he care how “excruciating and grotesque” the pain they suffered. Once tried, convicted, all appeals and additional evidence submitted the killer should be dispatched immediately. If you want to be kind give the killer his choice of dispatch and death by old age is not one of the choices.

    1. We, the people, like to think that we’re better than “these animals.”

      1. We generally are on the scales which relate to maintaining a congenial social life.

  12. Gorsuch is illegitimate, as is the court, since his seat was stolen from a duly elected President by the GOP led senate in dereliction of their clear constitutional duties. Since the constitution is explicit on the rights and duties surrounding these seats and since the president is an elected official, the clear intent was for the court to indirectly reflect the will of the people. We now have 4 justices appointed by presidents who failed to win the popular vote and one justice in a stolen seat and then appointed by a president who failed to win the popular vote. We have to live with the 4 but the 5th is illegitimate and any ruling dependent on his vote for a majority should be ignored and considered non-binding by all Americans until a remedy is devised.

    1. Gorsuch is illegitimate, as is the court, since his seat was stolen

      It’s pretty amusing the way liberals fancy they’re victims when what’s happened is that they didn’t get something they wanted. Normal adults accept disappointments as a matter of course. Liberals are not normal adults.

      1. absurd x 3: “Liberals are not normal adults.”

        broad-brush syndrome

        1. It’s not sufficiently qualified. It’s a blog comment, not a treatise.

          I’d be less inclined to say things like that if anyone on the portside ever called bullsh!t on the inane utterances of their confederates. I tangle with liberals in fora like this and I look at the spew produced by liberals in our circle of friends on Facebook. I can’t remember the last time any of them ever called a spade a spade. They just slink off.

          1. They have a good pack mentality. Conservatives brought up with the rugged individualism stuff often lack a sufficient herd impulse. This is something I admire about leftists.

      2. Liberals are not normal adults.

        There exists no such thing as normal. Adults exist. Putting the word normal before the word adults does not make normalcy pop into existence. Otherwise there would be normal leprechauns.

        1. There exists no such thing as normal.

          Thanks for the ex cathedra pronouncement. It’s been an education.

            1. Payback for there exists no such thing as sexism. There’s only “locker-room talk.”

              1. There is no such thing as ‘sexism’. It’s a bit of rhetorical gamesmanship, not a phenomenon with fixed properties.

                1. So, some people don’t negatively stereotype and/or try to limit the rights of others based on gender?

                  That’s a relief.

                  1. Guess what, Anon. People offer general characterizations. Sometimes that works in favor of your preferred mascots, sometimes that works against them. You could try arguing specific points (if you had any arrows in your quiver).

                    As for ‘lmit [ing] the rights of others’, no one’s rights are unlimited. The serious question is what should be the boundaries of the enforceable entitlements each person possesses. And, no, it isn’t obvious that they should be precisely the same among ascribed categories of people. And, no, Gloria Steinem doesn’t believe they should be, except when she’s playing forensic games.

      3. Anon is correct. Gorsuch is illegitimate. Your bitch Mitch McConnell would not allow the nomination of Merrick Garland to be voted on, for the specific purpose of invalidating the will of the American people, who voted Barak Obama as President, which included the right to fill a vacancy on the SCOTUS. All Americans are victims when politics are abused in this fashion. This isn’t a “disappointment’. It is a disgrace.

        TABX3: you need to stop watching Faux News, who keep referring to Trump opponents as “liberals”, “Democrats”, etc.. The majority of Americans did not vote for Trump, they consistently disapprove of him and the job he has been doing, they consistently disagree with his policies, like the wall he promised Mexico would pay for, like trying to abolish Obamacare, and so forth. MOST Americans oppose Trump. Don’t label us “liberals”. How about more accurately describing us as “the majority”, which is the truth? You Trumpsters are in the minority, which is shrinking.

        1. Ha, you guys are hilarious. How desperate and silly !

          McConnel is not my bitch whatever you mean by that. He’s on in my district and I don’t like him, even though we never met. But he played by the rules and Gorsuch was seated. If he was an illegal pretender then the Article III courts would not have elevated him.

          If he was illegal then the Democrat members of the SCOTUS would have been on tv every night telling people so. They haven’t said so but you know better than your darlings Sotomayor and Ginsburg huh?

          There is a police that answers only to the SCOTUS and not Congress. If SCOTUS thought he was “illegitimate” then he could not show up there every day for work, duh!

          You guys remind me of the sedevacantists. But I suspect you never heard of them anyhow so why bother explaining huh?

          1. NOT in my district I mean. Anyhow send a letter to your faves on the SCOTUS and ask them why they allow opinions to be published alongside him if he is supposedly so “illegitimate” whatever that means. But you konw better than them! Fool

        2. TABX3: you need to stop watching Faux News,

          It’s never on in our house.

          who keep referring to Trump opponents as “liberals”, “Democrats”, etc.. The majority of Americans did not vote for Trump,

          The majority didn’t vote for Hellary either.

          they consistently disapprove of him and the job he has been doing,

          Barack Obama was consistently underwater in job approval polls from 2010 to 2016. He was so even though every component of the media other than Fox News and talk radio was an extension of the DNC press office. You can check Real Clear Politics if you care to.

    2. The nuts are coming out of the woodwork again. Anon is calling Kavanaugh illegitimate because Anon doesn’t know the law and doesn’t care about it. Anon is a fascist.

      Fascists do not require any skills. They need not know anything. All they have to do is walk lockstep with other fascists.

        1. Do you not have acess to your own posts Anon?
          You wrote “Gorsuch is illegitimate, as is the court.” Since Kavanaugh is a member of the Court, you did indeed state that he is illigitimate.
          You also stated “Since the constitution is explicit on the rights and duties surrounding these seats and since the president is an elected official, the clear intent was for the court to indirectly reflect the will of the people.” Would you mind expanding on and cite your evidence that The Supreme is a tool of mob rule and exists solely to bestow It’s Imprimatur on very popular social norms such as slavery, not reflect the intentions of the Constitution and The Law?

          1. I think everything I wrote is clear and I stand behind it. I think the clear implication of my comment about the court – and emphasized in a later comment – was that it’s decisions which relied on Goresuch for a majority were illegitimate. Of course I said nothing remotely similar to your last sentence.

            1. Anon, you wrote “Since the constitution is explicit on the rights and duties surrounding these seats and since the president is an elected official, the clear intent was for the court to indirectly reflect the will of the people.” 
              In other words judge the Constitutional validity of laws based on popularity contents and polls. Advocating voting to run things based on mob rule, NOT the sanctity of the Indivudual, NOT the value of that Individual and certainly NOT the Preservation of an Individuals Rights.
              You’re using one of the most prominent liberal go to arguments today to justify the methodical, systematic undermining of the Foundations that hold American Civilization together and foster socially engineered trends and opinions to replace Constitutional, Civil and Human Rights and The Rule of Law. CNN and MSNBC love and use this trend ad nauseam and it was wildly successful in many historical transitions into totalitarian death cult societies, most notably Nazi Germany and Communist Russia and Communist China. Also surprisingly easy and pleasant in the beginning because it taps into some of the lowest common denominators in people like the herd mentality and the need to stampede in mindless protest against their Existential Angst. It demonizes such counter characteristics as individuality and freedom and taking responsibility for a life of self reliant, conscious, willful purpose. It removes the common sacred covenants that give people the the ability to choose to live their lives as fully and civily as possible, among other free living individuals doing the same thing while preserving, protecting and defending themselves and their children’s future from degenerating in to an abyss of chaos, darkness and death.
              Your mob rule tool is the go tool of choice in coups and seizures of power because it does not rely on higher functioning such as logic, reason, a moral base or understanding and insight into consequences, but a mindless triggering of an orgasmic release in people to rid themselves of their pent up emotionally based feelings from their deep nebulous rage against the human condition which by the way, can’t be fixed or changed by slavery under tyrrany. The only required element for sucess is the ability of the drivers of the transition to stealthly enculturate the big lie, point the power of primitive instincts toward their targets and hit the send button. The people will do the rest to bring the will of the Law of Absolute Power, The Law of Rulers, to fruition. As far as I recall from Miss Wilson’s third grade Civics lessons, The Supreme Court is there to decide questions of Law based on the Constitution, not which Law should be preserved or struck down because it is popular or unpopular. I may he a little hazy on that but I’m certain there was no mention of them being there to Rule a Law Constitutional or Unconstitutional because it had the most followers on Twitter or the most likes on Facebook.

              1. Dawn, what you call mob rule is the election of our president, who by the constitution you pretend to love, is alone granted the right and responsibility of nominating SC justices. The Senate – by the Constitution you pretend to love – has the right and responsibility to advise and consent to SC nominations from the President. The GOP led Senate refused their constitutional duty for purely partisan political reasons and stole the seat Goresuch now occupies from a duly elected President. You don’t give a rat’s a.s about the Constitution, you care about maintaining your minority party’s power (you’ve lost the vote in 6 of the last 7 presidential elections).

                The remedy for this situation could include – with a Democratic President, House, and Senate – adding two SC seats to be filled by the President, and thus making the conservatives the minority on the court, which is what they should now be. This was a theft from the voters of this country, not Obama, and it should be rectified. IN the meantime, opinions depending on Goresuch for a majority should be ignored, belittled, and cursed as the work of a now unconstitutional court without authority

                1. “and stole the seat ”

                  The rules of the Senate were followed even though you are ignorant of the rules. Nothing was stolen, but to you something is stolen whenever you don’t get your way. You also forget or never knew that Harry Reid, Democrat, played the nuclear option years before. The Democrats opened the door for the nuclear option to be played.

                  Ignorance! Right now our border is being overrun by illegals and you don’t think that is a crisis Your grandchildren will be paying the bill for this problem created by the Democrats and in part by the Republicans.

          2. Both his statements were nonsense, of course. Gorsuch was nominated and confirmed according to spec. He’s just pissed that Trump got to nominate a replacement for Scalia. Congress was under no obligation to confirm Obama’s choices. Partisan Democrats have no procedural principles, just improvisations which provide specious arguments that they should get what they want. They didn’t get what they want, ergo ‘illegitimate’.

            Tom Daschle and Harry Reid bottled up nominations for years-long stretches, and were permitted to do this by the lets-play-footsie-and-get-nothing-done element in the Republican caucus. That included Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the DC Court of Appeals, which languished in Congress for two years. That’s kosher because, well, the Democratic Party was getting what it wanted. Judge Garland’s nomination being ignored for nine months is traffe because reasons.

            Of course, Brett Kavanaugh was treated in an appalling fashion by every element of the social nexus surrounding the Democratic Party and none of them own up to a thing. There’s this diversionary butt-hurt about Judge Garland, who was left in peace.

            Once you realize that liberals are juveniles, it makes some sense.

            1. TIA x3:
              Why anyone gives Anon more than a passing interest like you would a billboard on the interstate highway is beyond me. I fall into the same trap but I will strive to do better and not feed this particularly dense troll.

              1. He’s more succinct that Lies4Breakfast, so I respond. I am a lazy lazy man.

                (I take it the activities therapist at the assisted living center is running an arts-and-crafts class this morning, so Diane’s away from her computer).

                  1. Perhaps you fancy that talking about people behind their backs is Alpha-male behavior. Perhaps you further fancy that calling upon Mr. Smith to put people in his penalty box so that you talk about them behind their backs is Alpha-male behavior. Perhaps you may someday realize that jawboning the referee to put someone in the penalty box so that you can talk about that person behind that person’s back is an act of submission apropos of a gaggle of whiny little school girls.

                    1. Then again, “perhaps” people may make observations from time to time about trolls and sock puppets, but not waste time playing their games in the manner that they desire.
                      Life is full of disappointments for people like L4B/Anonymous/ Or Whatever Sockpuppet de Jour she uses.

                    2. You can’t stop talking about me behind my back. I was in Smith’s penalty box for ten days in January of this year. There wasn’t a one of you who went for a single day without talking about me behind my back. Because you are all snippy, snotty, sissy men. The whole lot of you, swishy boys.

            2. They’re not juveniles. They are smart. “Consistency is the hobgoblin” etc . They suffer no such hobgoblins. They aim for power. Aiming for power is a worthwhile activity.

              1. It’s because L4B really, really goes out of her way to be an obnoxious, lying troll. That’s known as “asking for it”. Buy nice try on her part playing the victim.

            3. “Tom Daschle and Harry Reid bottled up nominations for years-long stretches,”

              DSS, I don’t think Anon has the ability to look past the talking points he likes to regurgitate. I wonder if he even understands them.

            4. No president has ever been denied the right to a SC justice. Your minority party stole the seat, and what goes around comes around. Hope your ready and happy.

              1. No president has ever been denied the right to a SC justice.

                There were no vacancies during Jimmy Carter’s term of office, so he had no opportunity to appoint anyone. (Obama appointed two). One of Reagan’s was rejected by Congress (after a campaign of slander by Democrats) and another was bullied into withdrawing from consideration (because he’d toked at a cocktail party 8 years earlier).

                1. What McConnell did to Merrick Garland’s nomination was done to at least four Supreme Court nominees in the 19th century.

        2. OK you say so. Go ahead and file your suit with the federal courts. Let us know if you win. I notice nobody else has so far.

    3. I believe the all-mighty community organizer told us once that elections have consequences.This includes all levels so deal/get over it like we did for eight years.

    4. “Gorsuch is illegitimate, as is the court, since his seat was stolen from a duly elected President by the GOP led senate in dereliction of their clear constitutional duties.”

      You’re a fool Anon. Learn civics.

      Legitimacy by your standards would get us into a civil war fast. I don’t worry about that for a second. But people like you would get their ox gored, faster. Keep on pushing your luck, like you did with Trump. Some day you may be able to test this hypothesis.

      1. Learn the Constitution fool. and get ready Democrats do this to your side. You think lowered bars just jump back into place?

          1. Anon / Jan F. forgets history. He doesn’t know that the rules of the Senate are created by the Senate and when the fillibuster rule was broken by Reid he opened the same opportunities for Republicans.

            Anon is full of hate and ignorance, a bad combination.

  13. Can we please have a collective beat down of the “public interest bar” and their judicial enablers? They are the enemies of justice.

    Why not get rid of the veterinary methods and just execute people by firing squad? Just call people in for jury duty, pick names out of a box, and when you have among your sey a couple of dozen selected who are men between the ages of 25 and 55, take them aside. Tell them anyone who wants to sit out what’s next may do so. Hand each of the residue a rifle Half will be loaded with bullets, half with blanks. Escort your squad to the square outside the courthouse. Escort the convict out, tie him to a post in front of a cement wall, and then have the sheriff give the order with a ceremonial sword. Have no public announcement beforehand. Just do it within days of when the convict’a appeals are exhausted.

    1. Impartial judicial referees and adversarial system are a great cultural treasure of our Anglo Saxon legal heritage.

      On the other hand there is China. What you say is kind of how it works there. It sucks by comparison.

    2. However, a properly administered execution by firing squad is a good idea, subject to due process. On that much I agree.

  14. There are two ways to instill in humans the sanctity of human life- 1) society values life so much that we inflict the most extreme deterrent of death- do what we say but not what we do, or 2) society values life so much that we never kill the incarcerated- we practice what we preach. I think #2 is more effective, for #1 relies upon the fear of capital punishment which murderers presume to evade, but #2 is predicated upon upholding a moral principle and one’s self-respect.

    1. You want to instill the value of life, protect the innocent.

      1. A six figure population of unborn children are slaughtered every year by perverted gynecologists while our frivolous public interest bar fusses over the lives of a three score population of reprobates (every one of whom had a personal trial and years of appeals).

      2. A great deal of end of life care in this country is morally dubious, and incorporates sedating people and starving them.

      3. There are about 16,000 homicides in this country every year. The experience of inner city police forces who’ve adopted a program of ample staffing, optimal deployment, and pro-active tactics suggest you could reduce the number of homicides annually by about 4,500 (with the beneficiaries being residents of urban slums). Who is the enemy of such a program? The ‘public interest’ bar and their judicial enablers, as well as the sociology faculties in this country. (The prats who go on about ‘gun violence’ are completely uninterested in actual crime control).

  15. We have psychopaths sitting on the United States Supreme Court. I have lost faith in the highest court overseeing my profession. If I had it to do over, I’d buckle down academically and go to medical school instead.

    1. Good choice. It was used once in a cocktail with Valium, a muscle relaxant and potassium. Potassium stops the heart beat so I guess the rest of the cocktail is used to make things look better for the observer while the rest of the body is deprived of oxygen. My understanding is that the head after guillotining continues to have the ability to have some facial movement while the brain is deprived of oxygen.

      1. Or in your case, your fingers continue to type while your brain is deprived of oxygen.

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