Why do we continue to go through this over and over again?

Richard Glossip was due to die yesterday in Oklahoma for his conviction for being the brains behind a murder in 1997. Glossip has had last-minute reprieves before, raising the hopes of him, his family and friends, lawyers, and death penalty opponents, only to see them dashed. All of them had seemed resigned to the fact that he had run out of options and the fight was over. Then just an hour before he was to be killed, governor Mary Fallin issued a 37-day reprieve in order to study whether the method of execution was appropriate. Liliana Segura and Jordan Smith explain background to the latest events.

It was Glossip’s case that went to the US Supreme Court earlier this year challenging the use of the cocktail of drugs that are used in lethal injections. The court ruled 5-4 against Glossip though justice Stephen Breyer issued a powerful dissent challenging the death penalty itself. Even justice Antonin Scalia, a strong supporter of the constitutionality of the death penalty, has said recently that he would not be surprised if the Supreme Court found the death penalty unconstitutional.

In Glossip’s case there has also been a case made that he is actually innocent of the charge for which he was convicted, that was based on the uncorroborated testimony of the person who actually carried out the murder and who negotiated a plea deal in return for a life sentence.

Why do we still have such a barbaric practice like the death penalty? Why do we go through all this over and over again putting so many people through this emotional wringer? Let us for a moment leave aside for a moment the issue of whether the condemned person deserves to die. I can’t imagine what it must be like for the families of this person to have to go through all of this.


  1. Holms says

    Hell, let’s go further and leave out all human consideration altogether. Even in terms of plain old money, capital punishment is still a vast drain on the justice system and state budgets. There’s no argument for it ouside of vengeance, which has no place in any modern justice system.

  2. says

    Without accountability, abuses will continue. There is no punishment for corrupt cops, lawyers, judges or governors who allow the railroading and murder of falsely accused defendants. Careerists know they can abuse their authority, manufacture “evidence” and coerce false testimony for the same reason cops kill people on the street: because they can get away with it.

    There need to be consequences for the corrupt individuals -- disbarment for lawyers, lost of job for cops, impeachment of politicians, seizure of corrupt people’s assets to repay victims, imprisonment, and even the death penalty if innocent people were murdered by the state. DAs and judges who put innocent people on “death row” and cause their deaths deserve the same needle, only in their case it will be justified.

    In many cases, the innocent who were falsely convicted receive no financial compensation, treatment or help in any form. Worse yet, the false convictions aren’t removed from their records. Even worse than that, those who were falsely convicted and murdered by the state will never get justice. Once the victim is dead, corrupt judges refuse to reopen the cases saying “there is nothing to investigate”. But only if you consider corruption to be “nothing”.

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