ACLU says lethal injection violates First Amendment

Discussion in 'Current Events' started by Stephanie, Mar 9, 2006.

  1. Stephanie
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    Stephanie Diamond Member Supporting Member

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    By DAVID KRAVETS, | Wednesday, Mar 8 2006 7:15 PM
    Last Updated: Wednesday, Mar 8 2006 7:15 PM

    The American Civil Liberties Union claimed in a federal lawsuit Wednesday that California's lethal injection protocol violates the First Amendment rights of execution witnesses by not allowing them to see if the inmate is experiencing pain before death. (WTF?)?

    The suit, filed in U.S. District Court in San Francisco, says the only reason San Quentin State Prison officials inject a paralyzing agent is to sanitize the execution and prevent witnesses from perhaps seeing convulsions.

    The paralyzing drug, according to the lawsuit, "makes it impossible for witnesses to determine whether death row inmates in California are being subjected to substantial and unnecessary pain before dying."

    The induced paralysis, the group argued, conceals significant information to which the public is entitled.

    The ACLU, which filed the suit on behalf of San Francisco-based Pacific News Service, made a similar argument a year ago before the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on behalf of a condemned inmate. The court rejected it on procedural grounds, and did not reach the merits of the challenge.

    In response to Wednesday's filing, Nathan Barankin, spokesman for Attorney General Bill Lockyer, said "The ACLU does not have a right to determine what method the state of California should use in carrying out the death penalty." He said the "paralyzing agent effectively stops inmate breathing."

    Under California's injection protocol, a sedative, then a paralyzing agent and finally heart-stopping drugs are injected. The state is seeking court permission to drip a sedative continually to ensure unconsciousness.

    At California executions, about two dozen members of the media, in addition to public officials and relatives of the slain are present. They are able to see prison officials strap the condemned man onto a gurney, see them wrap the inmate's fists into a ball of tape and watch as they poke him with needles.

    Prison officials then move out of public site and the drugs begin pouring.

    Wednesday's lawsuit comes two weeks after the execution of California prisoner Michael Morales was called off amid questions of whether inmates suffer too much pain during the execution in violation of the Eighth Amendment ban on cruel and unusual punishment.

    Litigation is ongoing in the Morales case, with hearings on California's injection protocol set to begin May 2 in San Jose federal court. The Supreme Court has never addressed whether lethal injection amounts to cruel and unusual punishment, and 37 states use an injection protocol similar to California's.

    The case is Pacific News Service v. Woodford, 06-1793

    ---

    Editors: David Kravets has been covering state and federal courts for more than a decade.
    http://www.bakersfield.com/119/story/39561.html
     
  2. 007
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    007 Charter Member Supporting Member

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    ACLU = :cuckoo:
     
  3. Jimmyeatworld
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    Jimmyeatworld Silver Member

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    The American Civil Liberties Union claimed in a federal lawsuit Wednesday that California's lethal injection protocol violates the First Amendment rights of execution witnesses by not allowing them to see if the inmate is experiencing pain before death.

    Is that all they are worried about? No problem. Bring back public hangings. Let everybody see all the pain a piece of garbage serial killer goes through. Might even drive some kids away from crime if they can see where they are headed.
     
  4. Nienna
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    Nienna Senior Member

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    Boy, you never know WHAT you'll find in that first amendment! :rolleyes:
     
  5. Nuc
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    Nuc Senior Member

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    The government does such a great job with other issues such as the war, poverty, immigration, energy issues, the environment, taxes, transportation, etc. I see no reason they would not do an equally fine job with life and death issues like the death penalty. We should trust them. ACLU should back off.
     
  6. Mr. P
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    Mr. P Senior Member

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    You're right, they should back off. This protocol (with the exception of the heart stopping drug) is used in emergency medicine everyday to save lives.

    Is the ACLU going into medical practice now? If they are successful here, should the medical community discontinue the protocol also?
    I mean if it’s cruel it’s cruel, right?:rolleyes:
     
  7. 007
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    007 Charter Member Supporting Member

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    Yeah... so if the aclu is successful in this law suit, then I can turn around and sue my hospital for every time it "caused me pain"? :rotflmao:
     
  8. Mr. P
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    Mr. P Senior Member

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    Or sedate and paralyze you so they can place you on a ventilator and save yer life. BTW...no pain.
     
  9. 007
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    007 Charter Member Supporting Member

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    Yes... no pain. That's going to be my demand next time I go to a hospital. When I see them coming at me with a needle, I'm going to threaten them with an aclu law suit for causing me pain... :happy2:

    What a joke... the aclu that is.
     
  10. Trigg
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    Trigg Active Member

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    "The American Civil Liberties Union claimed in a federal lawsuit Wednesday that California's lethal injection protocol violates the First Amendment rights of execution witnesses by not allowing them to see if the inmate is experiencing pain before death. (WTF?)?"


    Personnally I'd like to see the person go through a little pain and suffering, serves them right.

    Also, they're not supposed to be experiencing "inhuman suffering" when they're killed. I may be wrong but where does it say the inmate shouldn't have to experience any pain at all?????
     

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