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The Rule of Law Does Not Apply to Executions in the U.S.A.

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Executions proceed even when the state's experts declare them illegal.


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It should come as no surprise that the state of Georgia is eager to kill Warren Hill, even though he is mentally retarded and therefore legally not competent to be executed.

I have witnessed two executions in Arizona. In 1999, Michael Poland's attorneys argued that he was not competent to be executed because he was mentally ill. The state's own psychiatrist, Barry Morenz, testified that he was not faking it, and indeed was trying to fake sanity. Judge James E. Don had him killed anyway.

At the clemency hearing for Jose Jesus Ceja in 1998, the judge who had sentenced him to death, A. Melvin McDonald, testified that Ceja hadn't had a fair trial, and that if the judge had known the facts of the case he wouldn't have given him a death sentence. The clemency board had him killed anyway.

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Barry Graham is a Scottish novelist, journalist and Zen teacher based in the US since 1995. He is the author of more than a dozen books, and has written for a diversity of magazines and newspapers, including Harper's, Flaunt, Parabola, Las Vegas (more...)

The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.

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