Wednesday, April 26, 2006


Is the history of capital punishment a history of attempting to make something that is inherently cruel and unusual culturally palpable in an ever changing culture?

Until 1924 one could still see public hangings in Clearwater, St. Petersburg and Tampa Bay, Florida; something your favorite Clearwater Criminal Defense Lawyer is glad he missed as who knows who they might have hanged.  Around that time electrocution was deemed faster, more humane, and less likely to be botched or at least not botched in immediate public view. Then with the new century in 2000 lethal injection with its promise of sleep and mere oblivion became the standard of a good, quiet government mandated death. Making Death for Death easier to impose, less painful and more palatable, in murder convictions where looking at unsolved murder cold cases in Florida makes us yearn to find and punish the offenders. Should the murderers be murdered with an eye for an eye? And in an America where mass murders fill the news shouldn't the punishment be as severe as the crime, even if an autopsy of the shooters brain reveals that the murderer had no control of his actions?

Yet various Federal Circuit Courts across the country have split on whether lethal injection in constitutionally permissable in murder cases, so that the United States Supreme Court finds itself again looking at the issue of cruel and unusual punishment in death penalty cases to clear the division.

As applied, it would seem that death by injection would almost by definition have to be reasonable if death by electrocution is contitutional. Yet, in a number of states doctors have refused to adminster the three steps to induce sleep, to induce paralyses, and eventually to stop the heart.

Further, even with careful and knowledgable medical administering of the chemicals, there is evidence that the peaceful death-sleep imagined by its proponents often goes horribly awry when wrenching pain strikes without the sleep.

What is life? Isn't every death an extinction? How could any death not be cruel? Shouldn't the real question not be how the government kills, but why? If the government debases life by the act of cooly administering death, it only teaches those who kill that killing is justified.

You and your Clearwater Criminal Attorney live in a country with a divided culture, abounding with government policies that claim to protect life only to waste its values destroying lives with brutal government action.