Wednesday, August 14, 2013

On to 2037

The catalog of the condemned.
First up is Harvey Mitts on September 25.  

Then Ronald Phillips, Dennis McGuire, Greg Lott, and Arthur Tyler.  One of them every other month through May 28, 2014.  The next one up, William Montgomery, should be July, but they set him for early August instead.  Another couple of weeks to be not enjoying the summer.

Raymond Tibbets is up in October, and then another break (Chirstmas vacation?) for Warren Henness who's got until January 2015.  Then the parade:
  • Robert Van Hook - March 
  • Jeffrey Wogenstahl - May
  • Alva Campbell - July
  • Angelo Fears - September
And as of this morning, Cleveland Jackson on November 17, 2015.  Just over 27 months from now.

It's a little more complicated than that, of course.  This business of planned murder.  And it's likely that one or more, maybe several, maybe most, won't go as scheduled.

There's litigation.  The Parole Board.  The Governor.  Stays and reprieves and commutations.  There's natural causes.  And as Billy Slagle reminded us, there's taking charge of it oneself.

And there's a serious question of method.  After September, our supply of pentobarbital expires.  Variations on that problem are cropping up across the country.  And every alternative generates its own problems.  

Georgia apparently decided to use a compounding pharmacy but passed a law making things so secret even the courts couldn't find out what they're doing so as to determine whether it's constitutional.  Georgia's on hold.

The supply in Texas runs out at the end of the year.  They've been talking about using a compounding pharmacy.  But they're busy recalling tainted drugs compounded there.  Texas might end up with an unplanned moratorium.

As might we here while they cook up another source of drugs or another way to kill.  Either way leads to more litigation, more uncertainty.  I don't know what will happen, but the thing is that nobody else does, either.  And that's a mess.

Meanwhile, the Task Force is due to issue its report and recommendations around the end of this year.  Press reports make clear what was obvious from the beginning given the group's make up.  There'll be a minority report, too. 

We have, 143 men and one woman on death row in Ohio.  136 of those folks are currently under sentence of death.  (I might be off by one or two.)  If we killed all 136, at one every two months, it would take us into something like 2037. 

Put the moral questions aside.  Hell, even put the economic ones to one side.  And forget about fairness and rationality.  Fallibility and error.  Ignore rehabilitation and redemption.  Mercy and grace.  Pretend it has no effect on us and doesn't create new trauma in anyone.  Put aside the lies and the half-truths and the false promise of closure.  Don't even think about the Constitution or, god help us, human decency.

Instead, ask a simple question.
Are we fucking insane?
Go home.  Kiss your partner.  Hug your kids.  Try to explain how it makes sense to kill Harry Mitts next month after he's been on the row for 19 years.

Or Phillips, McGuire, Lott, Tyler, Montgomery, Tibbets, Henness, Van Hook, Wogenstahl, Campbell, Fears.  And now Cleveland Jackson.  And the other 123.  

And the ones yet to be added.

No comments:

Post a Comment