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April 13, 2023
More than a third of executions in the US this year were botched or highly problematic, according to a new report.
A total of 18 people were executed in six states throughout the year. The Death Penalty Information Center (DPIC) said seven of the execution attempts were visibly problematic or took an inordinate amount of time due to overall incompetence, failures to follow protocol or defects in the protocols themselves.
In one incident, executioners in Alabama took three hours to set an IV line in what was the longest lethal injection in US history.
“All the indicators point to the continuing decline in capital punishment,” said Robert Dunham, executive director of the DPIC, adding: “The families of victims and prisoners, other execution witnesses and corrections personnel should not be subjected to the trauma of an execution gone bad.”
In four states, executions had to be put on hold after officials were not able to carry out execution protocols.
Michael Benza, a law professor at Case Western Reserve University who has represented death row inmates, told the BBC that the primary reason for execution failures was because a medical professional was not carrying out the procedure.
“This means they often lack the training necessary to deal with problems,” he said. “Also, because the people who get the death sentence often have poor medical histories, such as illness or drug use, there are technical problems with getting IVs started.”
The DPIC report shows that only six states carried out executions and Texas and Oklahoma accounted for more than half of them.
ARTICLE: PAUL MURDOCH
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: LA TIMES