AirTalk for May 7, 2014

The method and rationale of a more humane death penalty

Death Chamber at Southern Ohio Correctional Facility

Mike Simons/Getty Images

A view of the death chamber from the witness room at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility shows an electric chair and gurney August 29, 2001 in Lucasville, Ohio. Is there a humane way to execute criminals?

Today, the Constitution Project, a bipartisan group consisting of criminal justice system experts, has released a report recommending 39 policy changes regarding the administration of capital punishment in the United States.

One significant recommendation suggests using a large dose of a single drug instead of a three-drug cocktail for executions. It was a three drug cocktail used to execute Clayton Lockett in Oklahoma last week. His death is said to have taken over forty minutes, with Clayton writhing in pain. Some say this kind of dying violates the U.S. Constitution's protection against cruel and unusual punishment.

Is there a humane way to execute criminals? What is the definition of “humane”?


Madeline Cohen, Assistant Federal Public Defender; Cohen is the long-time attorney for Charles Warner - who was supposed to be executed by the state of Oklahoma last week for his crime of sexual assault and murder of an infant

Kent Scheidegger, Legal Director, Criminal Justice Legal Foundation - a public interest foundation supporting the rights of crime victims


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