Monday, January 31, 2005

A right to die?

Ambivalent Imbroglio has an excellent post up regarding the odd twists and turns that the death penalty discussion takes, especially as it focuses on a particular case in Connecticut. Michael Ross, a convicted serial killer, faces the death penalty tonight, but he wants to die.
The Ross case is a complicated one b/c, as I understand it, Ross claims he wants to die, but his defense attorneys have been arguing against those wishes, saying his expressed desire to die is a clear sign of incompetence. It would also be the first execution in Connecticut in 44 years.

Will Ross’s execution basically become a state-assisted suicide? And if so, will that become another argument against the death penalty? Ross says one of the reasons he wants to die is that he can’t stand the thought of spending the rest of his life in prison; therefore, the death penalty is actually a lesser punishment for Ross than life in prison would be. This gives the lie to death penalty proponents who claim it is the “ultimate” punishment (as in the most punishment society can give), and thus becomes potentially another argument against the death penalty.

Some other death penalty resources:
Death Penalty Information Center
Amnesty International
National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty

UPDATE: Execution halted, Connecticut Supreme Court issues a stay to examine Ross's competency.