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< Rodriguez verdict: Guilty | Main | Rumsfeld "new type of fascism" speech on Midday >


..which leads to thoughts on the death penalty

Posted at 12:38 PM on August 30, 2006 by Melanie Sommer

Even though the state of North Dakota does not have the death penalty, Alfonso Rodriguez could be sentenced to death after being convicted in the Dru Sjodin case (see previous post). That's because he is being tried in federal court, which DOES provide for the death penalty in certain cases. This is the first time North Dakota has had any death penalty deliberations in some 100 years.

A somewhat different debate over the death penalty is taking place in South Dakota, where an inmate's execution was put on hold yesterday evening by Gov. Mike Rounds, over the drug cocktail that would be used to kill the inmate. South Dakota death penalty law, written more than 20 years ago, says the execution should be carried out using two drugs, but current practice calls for a three-drug combination. The governor wants lawmakers to change that provision before the execution takes place, at the earliest now it would be next July.

Yet another South Dakota death row prisoner is challenging the lethal injection method as cruel and unusual punishment, because of the pain it apparently causes. Nobody in South Dakota has been executed in nearly 60 years, yet now there are two cases in the news.

All this makes me wonder some about the use of the death penalty in general -- how it seems so capricious sometimes in the way it's applied. Your thoughts?