California Officials Debate Least Inhumane Way to Kill
|From drawing and quartering to firing squads to hanging to electric chairs to gas chambers to three-drug lethal injections to one-drug lethal injections.|
As the Chronicle reported in this morning's paper, Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley is trying to get a judge to approve a one-drug execution for two prisoners. The single-injection method, Cooley argues, removes the risk that the inmate will feel extreme pain.
Eight other states have already transitioned into the one-drug model, including death penalty connoisseurs Texas, Georgia, and Arizona, as well as fellow Pacific Coast blue-state Washington. It's an unlikely common ground, though not necessarily the result of common motivation.
One-drug executions are not only supposed to be less inhumane, they are becoming logistically necessary. Texas, for instance, made the switch in July, when it ran out of pancuronium bromide, which is in short supply nationwide. Shifting from three drugs to one allows states to continue their execution schedules while pancuronium bromide supplies expire.
It's possible that this whole debate turns moot by week 10 of the NFL season. Through the November ballot's Prop. 34, voters will determine whether or not California keeps capital punishment.