In the last few weeks, I was pleased to see the state supreme court deny governor Brewer the satisfaction of her politically motivated meddling in the independent redistricting commission, which the voters put in place when their politicians failed them. But not everything the court does is as pleasant to me. Today the court considered signing off on the execution of two death row inmates in the state prison system.
From the New Times article:
Moorman's nearly three decades on death row could soon come to an end -- if the court issues an execution warrant, he'll be executed some time in the next two months.
The court also is considering issuing an execution warrant for another death row inmate today.
Robert Charles Towery was convicted of murdering a man while robbing his home in 1991. He was sentenced to death in 1992 and has remained on death row ever since.
Like Moorman, if the court issues an execution warrant, Towery will be executed some time in the next two months.
These two fellows are not the typical reasonable-doubt kind of cases one hears about when an execution may be in the offing. The New Times article mentions the "compassionate furlough" during which Robert Moormann committed the murder that landed him on death row. I looked into the story of the murder and the details are not pretty. As a skeptic, I find the story of his conversion less compelling, perhaps, than others.
I still oppose his execution, the same as I would any other. The prison system seems adequate for keeping him away from society. Killing the man is unnecessary.
Through an article from the Arizona Republic on AZCentral, I learned some more about the other case, of Robert Towery. Apparently court filings showed, among other things, that the justice system anonymously pays a doctor a large sum of cash to assist in its executions. There were of course plenty of likewise anonymous folks eager to supply the bloody details of the murder, and others offering to help the justice system kill more cheaply.
"We could introduce the guillotine, can't get dead any quicker than a beheading."
Still, I defend Towery's right to live. We all have that right. Even those who demonstrate little respect for the rights of others -- these are not the standard by which I choose to operate. Advocates of execution seem so quick to invoke 'eye for an eye,' words from a holy book. So few of them recall how their prophet told them to turn the other cheek instead. As I don't hold to such beliefs, I fall somewhere in between. But capital punishment makes us all into the worst of these doomed prisoners; killers, for whatever twisted reason. Justice, security, deterrence, recidivism, have little to do with it. Vengeance comes to mind. But whatever misbegotten lust for vengeance I may hold, it doesn't go that far.
The irony of it escapes them, I guess. Beheading people. Perhaps these commenters have become inured to the sort of violence that once shocked us -- but I doubt it. Now that I mention becoming inured to such shocks to the system...decisions by the state supreme court are expected later today. I can't think of much reason to hope. The shock, for me, would be if they choose not to execute.
...and at the end of the day, I find that the decision was inexplicably delayed. I'm at a loss as to what to do, other than rail against the practice.