Guillotine 'Probably Best' for Executions: Judge


From NBC News:

A federal appeals judge issued a blistering dissent in a death-row case on Monday, declaring that an execution system that relies on drugs is doomed and the guillotine would be better.

Using drugs meant for individuals with medical needs to carry out executions is a misguided effort to mask the brutality of executions by making them look serene and peaceful — like something any one of us might experience in our final moments, Judge Alex Kozinski of the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals wrote.

But executions are, in fact, nothing like that. They are brutal, savage events, and nothing the state tries to do can mask that reality. Nor should it. If we as a society want to carry out executions, we should be willing to face the fact that the state is committing a horrendous brutality on our behalf.

Kozinski went on to suggest that states that want to continue executing prisoners return to more primitive — and foolproof — methods of execution.

The guillotine is probably best but seems inconsistent with our national ethos. And the electric chair, hanging and the gas chamber are each subject to occasional mishaps,quot; he continued. quot;The firing squad strikes me as the most promising. Eight or ten large-caliber rifle bullets fired at close range can inflict massive damage, causing instant death every time.

We don’t normally see writing like this from the bench. Especially surprising is that it comes out of the 9th Circuit.


Well said.


I suppose in a way he has a point, not that America would have many if any legitimate grounds to execute given the availability of prisons, but it’s awful hard to mess up an execution with a guillotine, even though it is horrible to think of.


As he goes on to say that the “firing squad” is the most tried and true form of execution I tend to agree with him.


After what happened recently with the shortage of the “standard drug” and the experimental use of another drug that resulted in the death row candidate choking and writhing for 20 minutes before dying, yes, I would tend to agree with this judge.


He’s clearly against the death penalty and going about it in a smart and honorable way. He wants executions to be what they are: the intentional killing of a human being. The clinical drug stuff is a smokescreen intended to sanitize the act and assuage the conscience of the populace. He’s asking nothing more than for death penalty proponents to put up or shut up when it comes to what the death penalty really IS.

It’s not all that different than pro-life activists who want people to LOOK at the photos of what an abortion really is rather than cover it all up in euphemisms.


The man who passes the sentence should swing the sword.


I think he’s confusing the touchy feely anti-death penalty activists with the general public. The general public would like to see people tortured and given a slow death especially in certain circumstances. I don’t think the general public have any dilusions about what the death penalty really is.

Even though Iowa is not a death penalty state, there have been many people calling for that to be changed in regards to child murders.


Seeing as the USA has come to accept so many of the radical notions of the French Revolution, perhaps we will soon embrace the Guillotine as well.


Would that be the Judge when the Judge decides and the 12 jurors when the jury decides?

By the way, the guillotine is not a sword but a machine and it was initially invented to be a more humane way of executing people.


Best solution is to quit executing people


My father, a retired Episcopal Priest, said if the State insists on execution, it should be hanging in public, and it should be televised. When people witness the horror of it; all hangings do not go well, sometimes their neck is not broken and they choke to death, then executions would quickly become outlawed.

As barbaric as that sounds, it would save lives that might later be found innocent, or at least give the criminal time to repent and convert.

If ladies were required to watch a previously recorded abortion, as disgusting and horrific THAT is, then I bet you would see more people walking right back out of “clinics.” You should know what it is your doing. You should be made to see when you vote for someone who advocates all of this what your buying. Not so easy when you get to see the actual product.


I completely agree. I would like to see the death penalty abolished. Give them life in prison without parole instead.


There are many murders which richly deserve the death penalty. My own neighbor was killed in cold blood two months ago. A quick death penalty would not only make SOME people think before killing, but it would deliver justice to the families of the deceased. :ehh:


Revenge is never justice.

And a moral evil (murder) can never be used to further a good (possible future aversion), let alone a theoretical good that may not come to pass.


Sounds tongue-in-cheek to me. I’m glad that people are paying attention.

If I understand the Catechism correctly, the death penalty is only allowed when you cannot stop the offender from future crimes (the only example I can think of is being on a desert island with a mass murderer and no prison to secure them in).

In addition, to prevent mistakes (which happen!) we must be very equitable and without any bias when sentencing someone to death. Statistically, there are huge disparities between the death sentence in regards to the rich versus poor and blacks versus whites. We have also cleared people of crimes decades after their death. As it is currently practiced in the US, I don’t see how we couuld possibly justify the death penalty, especially because we do have prisons. Plus, life in prison is actually cheaper for tax payers than carrying out a death sentence, so there is no advantage.

A copy of the relavent section:

2267 Assuming that the guilty party’s identity and responsibility have been fully determined, the traditional teaching of the Church does not exclude recourse to the death penalty, if this is the only possible way of effectively defending human lives against the unjust aggressor.

If, however, non-lethal means are sufficient to defend and protect people’s safety from the aggressor, authority will limit itself to such means, as these are more in keeping with the concrete conditions of the common good and more in conformity to the dignity of the human person.

Today, in fact, as a consequence of the possibilities which the state has for effectively preventing crime, by rendering one who has committed an offense incapable of doing harm - without definitely taking away from him the possibility of redeeming himself - the cases in which the execution of the offender is an absolute necessity “are very rare, if not practically nonexistent.”


Would it have bought your neighbor back to life? Do you not see the contradiction is claiming to teach people killing wrong we must kill some people?


Christ never taught that the death penalty is immoral. Once a killer is deceased, he can never claim another life. I do not trust progressive politicans (Obama) and judges to never release these fiends. One killer from near Scranton killed another (17yo) while in prison. A prison guard from Wilkes-Barre was murdered last year by a killer serving “life”. Unlike another poster who claimed that “revenge is never justice”, I simply disagree. It’s legal closure for the family of the murdered, but of course grief has no statute of limitations. Blessings, Rob :slight_smile:


Once a killer is decreased he can never repent.There should be no statute of limitations on repentance They should have until Good calls them home-not when the State decides to send him that way


I think his point was obvious, to anyone paying attention, and you pretty much nailed it. I don’t disagree per se, but one wonders why this doesn’t get said by judges regarding evils like abortion?

Wouldn’t a gunshot after birth be safer for the mother, and more effective than chemicals or forceps in the womb?

Oh, that’s right, some horrors are off limits for criticizing with outlandish analogies, even if they are apt.

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