DPIC REPORT: Nearly Half of U.S. Death Penalty Executions in 2022 Botched

By The Vanguard Staff

WASHINGTON, DC – Seven of 18 execution attempts nationally in 2022—across six states—were botched, according to a new report by the Death Penalty Information Center (DPIC).

In four states—Idaho, Ohio, Tennessee and South Carolina—executions were delayed after officials were not able to carry out execution protocols, said DPIC, noting executioners in Alabama took three hours to set an IV line, the longest lethal injection in U.S. history.

The good news from DPIC’s viewpoint is that the execution number is one of lowest in the past few years. 

“All the indicators point to the continuing decline in capital punishment,” said Robert Dunham, DPIC executive director.

Dunham added, “After 40 years, the states have proven themselves unable to carry out lethal injections without the risk that it will be botched. The families of victims and prisoners, other execution witnesses and corrections personnel should not be subjected to the trauma of an execution gone bad.”

The report from the non-profit indicated the executions were “visibly problematic because of incompetence, failures to follow protocol or defects in the protocols themselves,” according to an Associated Press story.

Case Western Reserve University Prof. Michael Benza, who has represented death row inmates, told the BBC the primary reason for execution failures was “using a medical model of executions, lethal injection, but not using medical people to carry it out. This means they often lack the training necessary to deal with problems.”

He added, “Because the people who get the death sentence often have poor medical histories, such as illness or drug use, there are technical problems with getting IVs started.”  

The AP said the DPIC report shows that the death penalty continues to be geographically isolated in the US, with only six states carrying out executions—Texas and Oklahoma accounted for more than half of executions. 

DPIC statistics reveal a racial disparity in U.S. death penalty cases—eight of 18 people executed were people of color. Five were Black, one was Asian, one was Native American and one was Latino.

Twenty-seven states have the death penalty, but California, Oregon and Pennsylvania now have moratoriums on executions.

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