The Rare Woman Execution

Next week, Texas' machinery of death will execute a female. A fairly rare occurrence.

She committed a horrible crime of killing a child (well, at least a jury convicted her of that so I hope it's true), but she had no criminal history whatsoever. Oddly, a couple of weeks ago I wrote about how Texas' highest criminal court held that a different lady should not be put to death without any other evidence that she would be a continuing threat to society.

Unfairness? I can only recall the words of former Supreme Court Justice Harry Blackmun, writing in 1994 as he was about to retire from the Court, that "From this day forward, I no longer shall tinker with the machinery of death. For more than 20 years I have endeavored...to develop...rules that would lend more than the mere appearance of fairness to the death penalty endeavor...Rather than continue to coddle the court's delusion that the desired level of fairness has been achieved...I feel...obligated simply to concede that the death penalty experiment has failed."

Those words were haunting the first time I read them. Thirteen years later, things are no better.