08 August, 2012

State sponsored juicing ~ Arizona USA

Update 9th August:  Cook was executed in Arizona on 8th August - Reuters  He was sentenced to death in 1988 and was the fifth person to die by lethal injection in Arizona this year and the 33rd since the state reintroduced the death penalty in 1992.

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"State sponsored juicing" is a disgusting and abhorrent phrase which appears in an article in Phoenix New Times 12th June 2012.  The phrase conjures up an image of rejoicing at the deliberate killing of a prisoner.  It refers to the execution of Daniel Wayne Cook scheduled for 8th August 2012.  He has spent 24 years on Arizona's death row. 

The murders in question occurred in 1987 and were particularly brutal.  The detail is in the 1991 judgment of the Supreme Court of Arizona - Arizona v Daniel Wayne Cook 170 Ariz. 50 (1991).

With facts such as those in this case it is not at all easy to find sympathy for those convicted.  Nevertheless, unless one adopts an entirely retributive stance and nothing else, the use of the death penalty should be condemned.  Arguments for and against this are presented here.

Amnesty has published  "Know the facts about the death penalty"  where they argue that
capital punishment does not work. "There is a wealth of mounting evidence that proves this fact.  The death penalty, both in the U.S. and around the world, is discriminatory and is used disproportionately against the poor, minorities and members of racial, ethnic and religious communities. Since humans are fallible, the risk of executing the innocent can never be eliminated. Furthermore, the astronomical costs associated with putting a person on death row – including criminal investigations, lengthy trials and appeals – are leading many states to re-evaluate and re-consider having this flawed and unjust system on the books."

A further interesting document is A Matter of Life and Death which has been produced by Amnesty to inform the young about the use of the death penalty.  Amnesty opposes the death penalty in all circumstances but wishes that its educational resources will enable young people to develop the knowledge, skills and values to form their own opinion on human rights issues. A quotation from the document is particularly striking:

‘In a world full of uncertainty human rights are a clearly drawn line. Every individual facing the death penalty,
whatever they stand accused of, is still a human being. However much we revile them, however much we are outraged by their actions, however much we want revenge. They are still human beings. They may well have killed and tortured. They’ve crossed the line. Do we really want to join them?’
Jeremy Irons

Also see US Courts for the Ninth District - Daniel Wayne Cook
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