Stephanie Mencimer for Mother Jones, on botched executions via lethal injection:
Many death row inmates were once IV drug users, and by the time they reach the death chamber, their veins are a mess. Others are obese from years of confinement, which also makes their veins hard to find. Compounding that problem is the fact that the people inserting the needles usually aren’t medical professionals. They’re prison guards (in Oklahoma they’re paid $300 for the job), and they’re usually in a big hurry to get it done quickly—an factor that doesn’t mesh well with the slower-acting drugs states are now resorting to.
These sorts of incidents are one reason that defense attorneys have been arguing in court that for all its clinical veneer, lethal injection still constitutes unconstitutional cruel and unusual punishment.
I say abolish the death penalty altogether; life without parole is punishment enough.