I don’t agree with the death penalty for many reasons, but mostly because the way it is administered in America is just far too haphazard, arbitrary, unwieldy and costly to qualify the practice as worthwhile.
In the state of Texas, for example, more executions are carried out than just about anywhere else in the United States, but strange as it may seem, the law requires that such prisoners have to be fit to be fried.
Fit, as in mentally fit, that is. A Texas appeals court ruled this week that a schizophrenic death row inmate cannot be forced to take medication which could make him mentally fit to be executed.
The convict, who has spent 22 years on death row, was sentenced to die in for his role in a 1989 armed robbery that left a restaurant manager dead. He had originally been scheduled for execution in 2006, but won a reprieve when he was found to be mentally incompetent.
Then prosecutors sought permission to have him “involuntarily medicated” which would render him fit. After a lengthy and hugely expensive legal battle the convict was force fed drugs which brought the worst of his symptoms under control. So he was found by a lower court to be mentally competent to be executed in 2012.
But an appellate court overruled that decision, holding that the lower court lacked the authority to order forced medication. “We hold that the evidence conclusively shows that appellant’s competency to be executed was achieved solely through the involuntary medication, which the trial court had no authority to order,” said the court. “The evidence conclusively shows that (the) appellant is incompetent to be executed.”
The US Supreme Court has ruled that mentally incompetent inmates cannot be executed but has not yet considered whether forcible medication is permissible in order to render an inmate mentally fit.
So the law is apparently settled that mental incompetency is grounds for a reprieve from the death penalty. One must be mentally competent before one can be officially rendered eternally mentally incompetent via execution.
This lucky prisoner was ruled mentally incompetent to be rendered mentally incompetent.
Because only in America must a death row inmate be fit to be fried.