Cloaking NC death penalty won’t make it fair or error-free

When the government is putting someone to death in the name of the people, the people have a right to know how it is being done.

But in a macabre and all-too-quick march toward resumption of the death penalty in North Carolina, Republican lawmakers are doing all they can to restart executions stalled since 2006 with a measure now in negotiation between the House and Senate that would drop a requirement that doctors be present at executions. The legislation also would keep confidential the drugs to be used in lethal injection executions.

This is a horribly misguided idea. There have been executions in other states in which questionable combinations of drugs have had gruesome outcomes for the condemned. Do lawmakers think this secrecy, and taking doctors out of the process, makes the death penalty somehow more acceptable? It does not.

There has been no spike in crime since the death penalty was halted over legal disputes. The sole motivation for getting it started again seems to be a push from some politicians to get “justice” for the families of murder victims. But that’s not justice. It’s revenge, and that is not the job of the justice system.

The death penalty is the one penalty that can’t be corrected. And DNA testing has revealed that some inmates convicted of crimes that could have brought the death penalty have been innocent. Rather than put executions on a fast track, North Carolina should abandon them altogether.