The Supreme Court to Decide Whether 7 Minutes of “Possible” Pain is too Cruel and Unusual for Our Nation’s Most Heinous!

Well, Texas and all other States with the death penalty have decided to issue a halt to all executions pending the Supreme Court decision as to whether or not lethal injection is “cruel and unusual.”   The Supreme Court halted the execution a Florida inmate who is challenging the method of execution.  In that case, like the Kentucky case that the Supreme Court will hear next year, (Baze v. Rees) the inmates lawyers argue that the cocktail of three drugs used to numb, immobilise, and eventually kill the prisoner does not constitute a painless death.  How tragic!  I suppose this means that they think the prisoner might endure some amount of pain after receiving the drugs.  How barbaric!

So what did this Florida inmate Clarence Hill do to deserve such a harsh and obviously prehistoric sentence?  In 1982, yes 82!, he was convicted of shooting a police officer to death while robbing a bank in Pensacola.  Just for reference, “Eye of the Tiger” was the number one song that year.  The police officer’s name was Stephen Taylor–here is a post on a Site dedicated to memorials posted by his brother: 

 My Brother Police Officer Stephen Taylor (13157) Almost 24 years ago my loving brother Steve was killed when he answered a robbery in progress call at a bank in Pensacola, Florida. His killer, Clarence Hill, is still on death row. He was to be executed on 1-24-06, but received a last minute stay. Steve, I wish I could have seen you, hugged you, laughed, or cried, with you for the past 24 years!! You knew how much your family loved you because we told you so often and we knew you loved us for the same reason. I, and your other sisters, your brother, your Mom and your Dad (who sadly passed away last Feb.) have loved and missed you every day of lives since you left us and always will!! You are our hero…. not just because of your actions on Oct. 19, 1982 when you answered that call at the bank and was left to die on a curbside (the memory of which will be forever etched in our hearts), but because you were always such a kind, gentle, loving man. You weren’t ashamed to share your faith and love for God and to let your family and friends know that you loved and cherished them…qualities that portray the measure of the real man that you were. Our family was so blessed to have you for 26 years and we thank God for every single day of that 26 years!!

But, of course, Mr. Hill might experience some pain if he receives the lethal injection for his crime and wouldn’t that be unusual and cruel?  How dare us even consider hurting Mr. Hill during the last seconds of his life–its unthinkable.

 So yesterday, the Supreme Court gave a Halloween present to another inmate–this one from Mississippi.  Mississippi inmate Earl Wesley Berry, who has been on death row for 19 years for the murder of a woman, had been served his last supper and was 15 minutes away from execution when the court intervened.   Earl Wesley Berry was to be put to death for the kidnapping and murder of Mary Bounds in rural Mississippi in 1987.  Mary Bounds was 56 years old in 1987 when Mr. Berry abducted her from choir practice and subsequently beat her to death.  He confessed to killing her but never said why and never showed any remorse.

Again, how could we even consider inflicting any amount of pain on a murderer who beat his victim to death.  It’s unthinkable.  Here is Ms. Bounds husband pleading with the corrections officer regarding the Supreme Court’s decision:
Charles Bounds, left, speaks to Mississippi corrections official Chris Epps about the stay of execution for his wife's killer, Earl Wesley Berry.

And how about that Kentucky case that started all of this insanity?  The appeal was filed by two Kentuckians who received death sentences for double murders. Ralph Baze was convicted of the shooting murders of a sheriff and a deputy sheriff in Powell County, Ky., in 1992, when they were trying to serve felony warrants on him from Ohio. They were killed execution-style. Thomas C. Bowling was convicted of the shooting murders of a couple, and wounding their two-year-old son, as the victims sat inside their car in a business parking lot in Lexington, Ky., in 1990. Bowling had run into their car with his vehicle, got out and shot the three, and then fled the scene.  Both of these gems from our society are challenging only the method of execution, not whether they should receive it–but the implication of the ruling from the Court could halt hundreds of executions all over the Country.  Today, the Harris County District Attorney’s office stated it would not seek execution dates from any convicted murderers until after the Supreme Court makes its ruling–which will be late next year!

Their petition argues that there is “undisputed evidence” in the record “that any and all of the current lethal injection protocols could be replaced with other chemicals that would pose less risk of pain while causing death than the tri-chemical cocktail currently used.” The three chemicals are sodium thiopental, to include unconsciousness; pancuronium bromide, to paralyze the muscles, and potassium chloride to cause cardiac arrest and death. The petition particularly focuses on the second chemical, contending that it masks the excruciating pain that results from the protocol’s used, so that the inmate suffers needlessly before dying.   Death usually occurs within 7 minutes.

Well pardon me Supreme Court–7 minutes?  Forget whether you agree with the death penalty or not before you comment here–the case is not about that–it is ONLY about whether the method is cruel and unusual–not the actual death part.  Okay? 

Now–focusing the debate on that only–are we really arguing in our society whether Mary Bounds life is worth Mr. Berry suffering some portion of 7 minutes of pain?  Are we really arguing whether Stephen Taylor’s life is worth Mr. Hill suffering some portion of 7 minutes of pain?  I can tell you this–if my mother/wife was Mary Bounds or my father/son/brother was Stephen Taylor I would be angry that 7 minutes is all it takes.  I think Mary suffered during her beating more than 7 minutes, I think Stephen Taylor, who was left on the curb to die suffered more than 7 minutes.  And the victims’ families and loved ones–they get the joy and pleasure of suffering for the rest of their natural lives.

7 minutes of pain is cruel and unusual–for the victims.  It is hardly much to ask from the murdering psychopaths who have recklessly and mercilously destroyed the lives of these police officers, sherrif’s deputies, and church-going, granmothers leaving choir practice.   How dare we even consider this ridiculous appeal.  I am ashamed and I can only hope the Court writes an opinion upholding the practice once and for all!

-Murphy

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