Death Penalty Charades

By | June 4, 2021 | 0 Comments
  • Gov. Gavin Newsom declares moratorium on death penalty in California.
  • LATimes publishes front-page article on new legal maneuvers to stop death penalty in California.

Charades is a game in which players try to guess what another player is pretending to do. It can be quite amusing. But charades in political life are not at all amusing, and may even be dangerous.

In fact, all executions in California stopped in 2006 and are most unlikely ever to resume. A federal district judge, the lowest type of federal judge, ruled that California’s lethal injection is cruel and unusual punishment forbidden by the Constitution.

One can argue the pros and cons of lethal injection. I oppose it not because it is cruel, but because it confuses intravenous injection, a medical procedure, with killing. I insist on separating these two disparate functions as far as possible. Healers and killers must never be confused. That’s why I find euthanasia problematic at best.

But the fact is that the judge ruled it unconstitutional in 2006. Since then, various committees met and pretended to try to develop a better injection protocol. Now, 15 years later, they still have not agreed on one. Clearly, they never will. So in effect, the death penalty in California was abolished in 2006. The 703 inmates on death row will die of other causes.

Gov. Newsom pretended to declare a moratorium. And now the California Supreme Court is pretending to consider a legal challenge, and media are pretending to discuss the challenge. Meanwhile, death-penalty opponents pretend to be concerned that it will be reinstituted momentarily.

You like charades? Good. Play a game with your friends and family. But don’t tolerate it in public life. Our problems are too many and too severe to pretend to try to solve them.



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