“If you take away the arguments about cost, deterrence, and closure, what’s left other than a call for vengeance?” the Idaho Statesman asks in an editorial debunking common — erroneous —arguments conservatives use to justify their support for state killing. The paper points to Idaho’s plan to spend $750,000 to build a facility for firing squads to kill people in the wake of a new state law authorizing that method of execution, as well as the higher cost of prosecuting capital cases, as just two examples of how the argument that it’s more expensive to imprison those convicted of first-degree murder than to kill them is dead wrong. The state should debate the death penalty, the paper says. “But let’s at least have an honest, informed” one.
Herman Lindsey was sentenced to death by a non-unanimous jury for a crime he didn’t commit in Florida in 2006. He was on death row for three years, released when the state Supreme Court vacated his conviction. But those three years took a toll, and the experience still haunts him. “Fourteen years later, I still have physical and emotional effects from the row: anxiety, high blood pressure, a chronic sinus infection. Even though I’ve been exonerated, I feel like I’m serving a life sentence.” Herman Lindsey writes in the ACLU newsletter.
This month’s executions of James Barber in Alabama and Jemaine Cannon in Oklahoma “illustrate the continuing injustice and cruelty of America’s death penalty system,” Austin Sarat writes in Verdict. In the case of Cannon, who had an abusive and traumatic upbringing, and Barber, who was Alabama’s first execution since it botched three last year, and had credible evidence of ineffective assistance of counsel, Sarat writes that we should all be worried about “what the government does when it kills in our name.”