Not too often that SD gets mentioned in Atlantic Monthly of all places. Now and then an author from SD gets mentioned. The recent reference to South Dakota was less than flattering however.
In a story on botched executions, South Dakota is mentioned...not for botched executions, but for the prison buying murderous drugs perhaps illegally. When drug companies stopped selling drugs made for one purpose, but used by states to make state-sponsored murder and revenge possible, the states started looking for drugs in odd places.
So they looked even further afield. In late 2010, a company in Mumbai, Kayem Pharmaceuticals, received an email from the Nebraska Department of Correctional services. Officials there wanted an anesthetic that Kayem made mostly clients in Angola: Sodium Thiopental. Kayem sold Nebraska 500 vials, enough for more than 80 executions. Soon after, Fox's boss wrote to Kayem to explain how Nebraska planned to use their product. When South Dakota officials tried to place an order, Kayem jacked up the price to $20 per vial, hoping the cost would dissuade them. It didn't. South Dakota bought 500 vials. Kayem stopped selling the drug to the use immediately after that.
(The above was found on page 73 of the June 2015 ATLANTIC MONTHLY)
It appears that the US DEA seized several states collection of prison execution drugs purchased imported illegally since a company Hospira was the only pharmaceutical company allowed to sell it in the US and they refused to sell it to prisons for executions, South Dakota is not listed as one of the states where drugs were seized however.
I find it ironic that those we trust to enforce laws honestly are willing to purchase drugs illegally or with deception to facilitate "painless" executions. I find many murders terrible, egregious, vicious, primitive, etc. I can understand why some people (especially relatives of those savagely murdered) think these thugs ought to be executed. These particularly terrible cases make it seem executions should be practiced. But, it is said that tough cases make bad law.
The problem however is that our government systems are not perfect or often even honest, or even really scientifically correct or knowledgeable in collecting evidence or applying it. The FBI was recently determined to have used a very flawed hair identification system that put apparently several hundred people in prisons, many who were later shown to be innocent by better data and perhaps nine completely innocent executed as well. Couple these flawed systems with incompetent police investigations and prosecutors and judges altogether too willing to exploit murder cases for political gain and we have systems that become murder machines in the name of all of us.
Life sentences should be preferable to irreversible state-sanctioned murder when the systems are all possibly flawed so that innocent people can be executed in primitive revenge systems. We are all dirtied by the death penalty. It is also very unlikely that it actually deters crimes.
It is interesting that our neighbor red state, Nebraska, is now seriously considering ending the death penalty there.
***Stay tuned and stay sane--- Doug Wiken