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Firing Squads and Lethal Injections: Is Today’s Death Penalty Cruel and Unusual?

August 27, 201441 min
The Eighth Amendment protects people from cruel and unusual punishments in the United States but what does that mean? In the last 38 years, Americans used hangings, gas chambers, lethal injections, electrocutions, and firing squads to execute convicted murderers. Given the recent reports of botched lethal injections, some experts are calling for the return of the firing squad as the most humane form of capital punishment. On this episode of Lawyer 2 Lawyer, host J. Craig Williams interviews Judge Alex Kozinski from the United States Court of Appeals for The Ninth Circuit, exonerated death row survivor Ronald Keine from Witness to Innocence, and M*A*S*H actor Mike Farrell from Death Penalty Focus. Together they discuss the merits of firing squads vs. lethal injections, corruption in the judicial system, and the morality of western society. Tune in to hear about the 144 exonerated death row survivors as well as Ronald Keine's near miss with the gas chamber. Judge Alex Kozinski sits on the bench of the United States Court of Appeals for The Ninth Circuit where he's served since his appointment on November 7th 1985. Prior to his appointment Judge Kozinski occupied other prestigious positions including Chief Judge of the US Claims Court and Office of Counsel to the President. He is married with three children plus three grandchildren. Ronald Keine is an exonerated death row inmate who was just 9 days from his execution in the gas chamber when the actual murderer confessed to the crime. Today, he an Assistant Director of Membership and Training for Witness to Innocence an anti-death penalty organization whose leading voice is that of exonerated death row survivors. Mike Farrell played Captain BJ Hunnicut for eight years on the hit television show M*A*S*H as well other roles like Jim Hansen in another series called Providence. In the 90s, he served for three years as a member of the State of California's Commission on Judicial Performance. Mr. Farrell is a life-long opponent of the death penalty and has been the President of Death Penalty Focus since 1994. Special thanks to our sponsor, Clio.

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