Death Penalty debate flares after firing squad execution

firing squad execution
Utah: The state has banned the method, saying it overshadows the crime and victim Nicholas Riccardi: McClatchy Tribune Commentary submitted by Jim Pavis, OADP member The following was excerpted from the Oregonian article (June 19, 2010 – A4): Utah…banned use of the firing squad in 2004. It allowed …Gardner to opt for the method to avoid court appeals that could further delay the convict’s execution. “we had come to a point in Utah where execution by firing squad was overshadowing the victim and the crime,” said Ron Gordon, who was then director of the sentencing commission. “It attracts a lot of attention. A lot of people talk about this is the wild, wild West and Utah is shooting people. Yet the firing squad generates much more revulsion, said Deborah Denno, a law professor at Fordham University who has studied execution techniques over the centuries. “The anti-death penalty people think it’s barbaric, and the pro-death penalty people think it detracts from capital punishment,” she said. “But when you think of all the methods, the firing squad would be the most dignified. Someone standing up and facing their death.” “It’s this conundrum that U.S. society is faced with—we want a system of justice that will put people to death, but we want it to be palatable,” said Laura Moye of Amnesty International. “If you want a system of justice that takes human life you can’t do it palatably.” Burdell’s family (one of Gardner’s victims—his defense attorney) pleaded with the state to spare Gardner’s life. Obviously the firing squad didn’t bring closure for those folks! Four jurors told the state Board of Appeals they would vote to give life in prison if they had that option today. So in this case, the only reason to order the death penalty is law enforcement’s position for vengeance in the disproved belief in deterrence! Don’t look for logic in pro-death penalty arguments. Oregonian, first section, Friday, June 18, 2010.

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