The right to a speedy death

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Opinion: By Phil Riske | Senior Reporter/Writer

You’ve probably heard someone say, “When I go, I want to go quickly.”

Several years ago, a Wyoming lawmaker proposed returning to the days when executions were carried out by firing squad, I thought at the time how barbaric, how regressive can you get? 

Even a chief judge of the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has suggested to prevent legal challenges to lethal injection bring back firing squads.

An annoucement last week by the Arizona Department of Corrections that Arizona is again ready to execute death row inmates got me rethinking the firing squad issue.

This column several years ago published a study reporting more than 40 executions in past years have been botched, several as recent at 2014.

The U.S. Supreme Court  turned down the appeal of Arizona inmate James Wood who was overdue in the death chamber. His lawyers based the appeal on the ongoing debate over the efficacy of lethal injection drugs.

Arizona went right to work and quickly executed him within hours of the court’s decision.

Sort of quickly.

It took two hours before he died, officials said.

“I am concerned by the length of time it took for the administered drug protocol to complete the lawful execution of the convicted double murderer, Joseph Wood, “said then-Governor Jan Brewer. “While justice was carried out today, I directed the Department of Corrections to conduct a full review of the process.”

Brewer went on to say Wood didn’t suffer.

Wood would be the only judge of that.

He might have preferred a firing squad.

Background:  Ariz. execution witness describes gruesome scene

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