Friday, September 28, 2007

Tickle test?

The death penalty in the U.S. has always been pretty strange. And it just got stranger.

With news that the U.S. Supreme Court is reviewing the adequacy of Kentucky's lethal injection protocol (which is fairly similar to that of most other lethal-injection execution states) prison officials are scrambling to find ways, sometimes innovative, to make sure their protocol passes constitutional muster. In Florida, there already has been talk of a prison official shaking a death row inmate to see if he is fully unconscious before the poisonous drugs are administered. And now, courtesy of the New York Times, we have this from Alabama:

In Alabama, where politicians rarely challenge the death penalty, the state is developing a "consciousness awareness test" for inmates being executed, but state officials maintained that the action was unconnected to the Supreme Court decision.

"Somebody would come in and do something to assess consciousness, after the anesthesia is delivered," Assistant Attorney General Clay Crenshaw said. For now, he said, "the consciousness-awareness is being done visually by the warden."

Like I said. Weirder and weirder.

No comments: