January 26, 2007
With NC execution stays, "these go to 11"
Henry Weinstein has this Los Angeles Times article today providing more details on yesterday's state judge ruling to stay "two executions in North Carolina, creating a de facto moratorium on capital punishment in the state until it changes its lethal injection procedure." As the article notes, the "ruling by Superior Court Judge Donald W. Stephens in Raleigh means that 11 states, including California, have now halted executions stemming from challenges to lethal injection."
Of course, this news all but demands a reference to a great scene and in what is surely one of the all-time greatest comedies. Indeed, at the end of an intense week, I cannot help enjoying all these great Spinal Tap quotes looking for other fitting references. Tellingly, the lyrics to the Tap's Hell Hole would better suit a post on imprisonment, so perhaps a lethal injection riff on Big Bottom is more fitting: "The badder the cushion, the sweeter the pushin' ... That's what I said... The looser the process, the more judges stop us... Or so I have read."
Poor taste jokes aside, the LA Times article details how lethal injection scrummages have now helped bring executions to a halt in North Carolina and 10 other states:
Illinois and New Jersey have a formal moratorium on all executions while the viability of the death penalty is considered. In mid-December, Florida Gov. Jeb Bush ordered a halt on executions until the state thoroughly reviewed its lethal injection procedure. In seven other states — California, Arkansas, Delaware, Maryland, Missouri, Ohio and South Dakota — almost all executions are being stayed as courts grapple with lawsuits asserting that lethal injection procedures violate the constitutional bar on cruel and unusual punishment.