The New York Times Editorial Board reacts to the botched execution of an Oklahoma death-row inmate.
“This horrific scene — the very definition of cruel and unusual punishment — should never have happened.”
“Mr. Lockett’s ordeal, along with the botched deaths of other inmates around the country, showed there is no reliable and humane method of execution.”
Although there is a growing trend to scale back executions, Republicans in Oklahoma seem “eager to buck this tide.”
“The medieval mechanics of death, though, are hardly the only reason that states are abandoning the practice. There is growing evidence that capital sentences are handed out in an arbitrary and racially biased way, often to innocent victims. A new study published by the National Academy of Sciences estimated that more than 4 percent of all death-row defendants are innocent.”
“Jurists and lawmakers are increasingly aware that an immediate moratorium on death is the only civilized response to this arbitrary cruelty.”