National Catholic Reporter

The Independent News Source

Lethal injection

Executions drop to lowest level in two decades

Driven in part by continuing legal disputes related to lethal injection drugs and state moratoriums on the death penalty, the 35 people executed in the U.S. this year marks the fewest in two decades, according to a year-end report by the Death Penalty Information Center.

The center, which opposes capital punishment, also found that the 72 death sentences issued in 2014 represents the fewest in 40 years.

After botched execution, OK archbishop denounces death penalty

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The execution of Clayton Lockett did not go off without a hitch Tuesday night.

Instead of death by lethal injection, the Oklahoman inmate died of a heart attack, with the complication attributed to vein failure, the Associated Press reported. The state corrections department was using a new three-drug combination, and the botched execution led them to postpone the execution of Charles F. Warner, also scheduled for Tuesday night, for two weeks.  

As execution drugs grow short, states scramble on capital punishment

Prison guards meet in the desert to hand off chemicals for executions. A corrections boss loaded with cash travels to a pharmacy in another state to buy lethal sedatives. States across the country refuse to identify the drugs they use to put the condemned to death.

This is the curious state of capital punishment in America today.

'Restorative justice,' not death penalty, urged for accused bomber

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In light of the proposed death penalty for 20-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, "Jesus weeps ... again" at the injustice, the Conference of Major Superiors of Men said in a statement Wednesday.

"Christ calls us to love our enemies and travel the long, difficult, but humanizing and liberating road to reconciliation," the conference said.

The CMSM statement came in response to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announcing the federal government will seek the death penalty against Tsarnaev, currently being held in federal prison for his alleged role in the Boston Marathon attacks.

Opposition to the death penalty continues to grow

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I heard the good news on NPR: Washington state's governor, Jay Inslee, announced he will not sign death warrants even though the death penalty is legal in his state. He said there have been "too many doubts raised about capital punishment, [and] there are too many flaws in this system today." That may be the understatement of the year.

Inslee joins Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber and Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper in declaring what are in effect state moratoriums on the use of the death penalty.

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