News Update 03.19.08
A recent article in The Washington Post questioned the usefulness of the BIS (bispectral index) monitor in surgical settings. The BIS monitor is also used in North Carolina – against the advice of its manufacturer – to monitor anesthesia during executions. One patient in the study described coming to during surgery and feeling a “white-hot fire pain” in his abdomen and his “organs and intestines moving around.” The man was unable to move, but remembers “crying and thinking, ‘If someone can see my crying, then someone can help me.’ “
I’m really not sure what’s going on a the editorial desks of North Carolina newspapers these days. First there was this piece, which I am told was satire, from the Greensboro News-Record. Then today we received this gem, which I suspect is entirely forthright, from The Charlotte Observer. Yawn.
In Georgia, the state Supreme Court has declined to grant a new trial to Troy Anthony Davis. Amnesty International reports:
Troy Davis was convicted of the murder of Savannah police officer Mark MacPhail in 1991. Davis was convicted solely on the basis of witness testimony, and seven of the nine non-police witnesses have since recanted or changed their testimony. No murder weapon was found and no physical evidence linked Davis to the crime. Several cited police coercion, and others fear of one of the remaining two witnesses, whom they allege actually committed the crime.
DPIC has launched a new page on Native Americans and the death penalty. The page contains information on executions going back to the 1600s, as well as the over-representation of Native Americans in prison today. Nine persons on North Carolina’s death row have their race listed as “Indian.”
The latest Harris Poll data shows that while a majority of Americans support the death penalty, a majority of Americans also believe that it does not deter crime. Ninety-five percent of those polled believe that innocent people are sometimes convicted of murder, and among those people, it was believed that over 10% of persons convicted of murder were actually innocent. More than one in three said that they would continue to support the death penalty even if a substantial number of those subject to it were shown to be innocent. (c/o StandDown et al)