The Nation describes itself as “progressive” while the National Review claims to “define the modern conservative movement” in this country.  In the past few weeks, both have published articles discussing executions and how the death penalty is being carried out in this country.

The two publications do not discuss the same execution.  However, the cornerstone of both articles is the same: something is wrong with the death penalty in the United States today.  Consider the following:

1. Nathaniel Woods Execution: The Nation

On March 10, 2020, The Nation published an article entitled “Take Action Now: End the Death Penalty,” focusing upon the execution of Nathaniel Woods by the State of Alabama for the 2004 killing of three police officers.

Those seeking to prevent this execution included Martin Luther King III and Kim Kardashian West based upon circumstances that suggested his innocence, including the man who killed the officers confirming Woods was “100% innocent.”

The method of execution: lethal injection.

Key here, according to The Nation was a growing challenge to Woods’ execution based not only upon “a case rife with flaws” but Alabama’s system which allows a sentence of death without jury unanimity.

From The Nation:

As mass incarceration continues to end lives, tear families apart, and tarnish our democracy, now’s the time to take action against this unjust system.”

2.  Nick Sutton Execution: National Review

In an article written by Kathryn Jean Lopez entitled “Stop the Death Penalty,” published by the National Review (“NR”) on February 24, 2020, the execution of Nick Sutton by the State of Tennessee is discussed.

Nick Sutton lived on Tennessee’s Death Row for 34 years before he was executed.   The method of execution:  electric chair.

Since his incarceration Nick Sutton had also been a hero to correction officers, saving lives on more than one occasion.  Three guards’ lives are said to have been saved by the actions taken by inmate Sutton.

Additional details on Nick Sutton’s life include a history of childhood abuse and neglect and resulting “neuropsychological impairments,” according to a noted forensic neuropsychologist.  For details, read his Clemency Application, pages 18-21.

Nevertheless, clemency was denied by the state governor, with the NR positing the denial being influenced not only by the cruelty in the manner of death for Sutton’s grandmother but also for three other killings, including an inmate after Sutton was incarcerated.  It was the stabbing death of the inmate (38 stab wounds) that resulted in Sutton being sentenced to death.

From the National Review piece:

“Mercy is for the guilty. We can’t be callous in these circumstances, or our arguments about the life of the most innocent might not be heard. I understand why the governor did what he did, but the death penalty should prompt more of a cultural examination of conscience. It could bring a lot of people of good will — those “pro-life” and “social justice” groups that seem strangely divided — together.”

Mercy After Judgment: Terry’s Goal in Every Sentencing Trial

Terence Lenamon has built a national reputation defending those who are accused of such serious crimes that the government seeks to take their life. His specific focus at the defense table is more than the adjudication of guilt or innocence; Terry’s acumen is widely known for his work during the sentencing phase of the capital case.

Specifically, he fights for the light of the accused after a guilty verdict has been reached.  He fights for mercy.

Death Penalty Lawyer Terence Lenamon on Capital Punishment

Several years ago, he was asked to give his take on his work and his stance on capital punishment.  We published it here, back in 2016.  It’s worth sharing again, in its entirety.

From Terence Lenamon: My Stance on Capital Punishment

“You cannot make the death penalty more ethical. Look at the data.

“Not only is it disproportionate to minorities, innocent people have been sentenced to death and executed.

“I won’t even touch on my moral opposition to the death penalty, although I will say it’s based in the New Testament. (Surprising how many religious zealots support killing another human being.)

“Bad lawyers, overzealous prosecutors, mistaken witnesses, flawed forensic testing. Anger, hate ……..The list goes on and on in what fuels an imperfect “punishment.”

“If your goal is to find ways to correct flaws within the death penalty you may want to change your paradigm to something like:

      1. Finding ways to protect our children from being abused and growing up exposed to violence.
      2. Finding ways to successfully treat mental illness before violence occurs.
      3. Finding ways to educate our children and protect them from the violence and exposure to drugs in our community.
      4. Finding ways to help parents raise their children in a safe and loving environment.

“The list can go on and on …. I can’t change your belief system but I certainly hope you take a look your goal and redefine in a way that changes things for the better.”