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Death and Other PenaltiesPhilosophy in a Time of Mass Incarceration$
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Geoffrey Adelsberg, Lisa Guenther, and Scott Zeman

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780823265299

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: September 2015

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823265299.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM FORDHAM SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.fordham.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Fordham University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in FSO for personal use.date: 03 August 2021

Making Death a Penalty

Making Death a Penalty

Or, Making “Good” Death a “Good” Penalty

Chapter:
(p.95) Making Death a Penalty
Source:
Death and Other Penalties
Author(s):

Kelly Oliver

Publisher:
Fordham University Press
DOI:10.5422/fordham/9780823265299.003.0006

This chapter examines the issue of consciousness as it relates to death and the death penalty. It argues that the Supreme Court's justification for the three-drug protocol, along with recent attempts to provide a “humane” and painless death by first rendering the condemned unconscious, circumvent the ability to determine whether the method of execution meets the criteria for avoiding cruel and unusual punishment. Because the condemned is rendered unconscious and his muscles are paralyzed, he cannot testify to his own suffering. Furthermore, medical science cannot guarantee unconsciousness, particularly in terms of “consciousness of death”. It further contends that the notion of the “good” or clean and painless death is necessary to distinguish lawful execution from unlawful murder. In other words, the state justifies the death penalty as humane by distinguishing it from the barbarity of murder.

Keywords:   death penalty, lethal injection, consciousness, three-drug protocol, capital punishment

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