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Death Penalty

by Eric DeBode Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2006 at 3:08 PM
cpf@la-archdiocese.org 213/235-8305

Death Penalty Protest Tonight, Tuesday Feb 21 at the Westwood Fed. Bldg. 11000 Wilshire 6:30pm.


CONTACT: Eric DeBode, 213.235.8305




Tuesday February 21st

6:30pm, Westwood Federal Building

at 11000 Wilshire Blvd.

(off the 405 freeway)

In a strange turn of events last night, as prison officials briefed the anesthesiologists about their role, and in particular how they would be asked to PARTICIPATE in the execution in case of a botch, the anesthesiologists refused to go along on the basis of ethical concerns grounded in their professional values to heal and not to harm. Good on them.

One cannot help but think how emotionally wrenching this is for the family of Terri Winchell. One can easily see that the death penalty is cruel and unusual in myriad ways.

At the same time, one wonders if Michael Morales is about to collapse from exhaustion, lack of sleep and the emotional stress of these past 24 hours.

This morning we heard that the prison will move forward at 7:30pm tonight with the execution protocol based on Judge Fogel’s first option – of administering one drug instead of three. This option was initially rejected by the prison because, they said, it takes too long. Also, the use of the second drug is to mask any complications that can arise from using a barbiturate alone. Using the barbituate sodium pentathol alone raises key problems:

Ø It may cause convulsions, vomiting and a coma or lingering state.

Ø It is a method which is unresearched and untested.

Ø This is a ghoulish human experiment.

Ø This is literally “tinkering with the machinery of death,” something Justice Blackmun regretted he had done for many years. That was legal tinkering…this is actually probing in the dark at new medical techniques that might satisfy the courts desire to avoid “cruel and unusual punishment.” But what is more unusual than the past 24 hours?

Ø This conjures up the notion of a FEMA like failure, of governmental incompetence and failure. Prison wardens and guards are not medical professionals, what do we expect when the state assigns them this ghoulish task?

Ø People are not guinea pigs.

Ø This is reprehensible, the FDA doesn’t approve drugs without thorough research and testing to document the results of new drug protocols.

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