Bring back firing squads - US judge

2014-07-25 12:01
Joseph Rudolph Wood. (File, AP)

Joseph Rudolph Wood. (File, AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

San Francisco - An influential US appeals court judge said on Thursday that the nation's third lethal injection execution to be problematic in six months underscores his call to bring back firing squads.

In an interview with The Associated Press, Chief Judge Alex Kozinski of the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals said lethal injection was a "dishonest" attempt to disguise the brutal nature of capital punishment.

Kozinski first wrote of his distaste for lethal injection in a decision on Monday, even while arguing against delaying the execution of Joseph Rudolph Wood III in Arizona.

Wood gasped for breath for more than 90 minutes and took nearly two hours to die on Wednesday after receiving a lethal injection for killing his estranged girlfriend and her father.

Kozinski said properly trained firing squads are a "foolproof" way to quickly execute an inmate and avoid complications surrounding lethal injection.

In a dissent to Monday's ruling that put Wood's execution on hold, but was overturned by the Supreme Court, Kozinski wrote: "Using drugs meant for individuals with medical needs to carry out executions is a misguided effort to mask the brutality of executions by making them look serene and beautiful - like something any one of us might experience in our final moments.

But executions are, in fact, brutal, savage events, and nothing the state tries to do can mask that reality. Nor should we. If we as a society want to carry out executions, we should be willing to face the fact that the state is committing a horrendous brutality on our behalf."

On Thursday, Kozinski said that he never liked lethal injection, a method that has been troubled by drug shortages and legal challenges. He said firing squads would never be hampered by a shortage of guns or bullets.

"I've always thought executions should be executions," he told the AP, "not medical procedures".

Kozinski said he supports capital punishment, but states and the federal government should abandon lethal injection and adopt a different method.

He mentioned the guillotine as another "foolproof" method, but said he doubted the public would accept that form of execution.

Kozinski is a reliable conservative vote on the left-leaning 9th Circuit and is known for his well-written and often provocative opinions. He wrote about grappling with a death penalty case for The New Yorker magazine in 1997.

He was appointed to the 9th Circuit by President Ronald Reagan in 1985.

Read more on:    us

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


China's air pollution at doomsday levels

China has long been struggling with air pollution issues but just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse – it has.



Moving short film on ivory trade
10 Tips for Greener Shopping
How safe are your baby products?
5 maps that will change the way you see the world

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts

The pace may be slow today and you may struggle to get things off the ground level, but it is important to focus on the more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.