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Georgia - Retentionist


Method of execution: lethal injection
Executions since 1976: 69
Prisoners on death row: 95 (as of April 1, 2013, source: DPIC)


FACTS

The method of execution is injection. The sentence is determined by a jury. The death row is located at Jackson (Women: Atlanta). As for the clemency process, the State Board of Pardons has exclusive authority to grant clemency.



NEWS

February 16, 2017: Norris Speed has been given a new sentence of life in prison with no chance of parole. Atlanta-Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard said in a news release that Speed agreed to the new punishment to avoid another possible death sentence during a new penalty hearing ordered by an appellate judge. Speed, 45, Black, was Sentenced to death on October 7, 1993 in the December 21, 1991 murder of officer Niles Johantgen. But an appeals judge threw out Speed's death sentence in 2010, ruling a sheriff's deputy gave improper advice to the trial jury. At a hearing Thursday, prosecutors agreed not to seek a new death sentence for Speed if he would accept life without parole. (Source: Atlanta Journal Constitution, 16/02/2017)

January 17, 2017: Why does Dr. Musso take part in executions? One of the core pillars of medicine is "do no harm." So how do the physicians who take part in the American institution of capital punishment rationalize their involvement? This film by Lauren Knapp profiles Carlo Musso, a doctor who contemplates his moral compass as he participates in executions, though he personally opposes capital punishment. In recent years, the discussion surrounding capital punishment has shifted from the application of justice to the practice of medicine. Nearly every professional medical organization, including the American College of Correctional Physicians, agrees that lethal injections are not the practice of medicine. The protocols are not scientifically sound and procedures vary widely from state to state. Yet many states require nurse or physician participation. Opponents of medicalized executions say that using facets of medicine (syringes, white coats, gurneys) simply serves to legitimize a practice that most other developed nations abandoned long ago. Dr. Musso agrees that this may be the case, but is adamant that as long as the United States conducts executions, doctors should be involved. He argues that the involvement of doctors and their ability to ensure what he calls "end of life comfort measures" helps keep our capital punishment system as humane as possible. He is a pragmatist and a businessman, who has founded numerous companies, including CorrectHealth, a provider of correctional health care in Georgia. When I contacted him for this film, he was consumed by his newest venture: a nursing home that would care for geriatric parolees. He said he wanted to be known as someone who cared about end-of-life issues within corrections - whether in geriatrics, the terminally ill or even the condemned. Though Dr. Musso says he ended his participation in Georgia's executions last year, I couldn't ignore the numerous ways he was inextricably tied to the institution within which he works. Since it was founded in 2000, CorrectHealth has expanded to more than 400 employees. He has faced a complaint for helping the Georgia Department of Correction illegally import execution drugs and sell them across state lines (after investigation, no action was taken). And he told me he planned to organize the patients in his nursing home, as prisons often do, considering past prison behavior and criminal history in addition to illness. While working on this film, I was reminded of Stanley Milgram's experiments on authority from the 1960s, which revealed how quickly most people betray their own morality in deference to authority. Ultimately, I came to see Dr. Musso as an ordinary man in an extraordinary position - but not so different from the way we all justify flawed institutions to which we belong. The film is at nytimes.com/2017/01/17/opinion/death-row-doctor.html (Source: New York Times, 17/01/2017)

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