<< News Scan | Main | What Didn't Get Said >>

Coaching Fake Suffering During Execution?

AP has this story on allegations that an attorney for recently executed inmate Dennis McGuire urged him "to fake symptoms of suffocation" during his execution.

The allegation is that McGuire told prison guards about this, but then said he would not do it.

State prison records released Monday say McGuire told guards that Lowe counseled him to make a show of his death that would, perhaps, lead to abolition of the death penalty. But three accounts from prison officials indicate McGuire refused to put on a display.

"He wants me to put on this big show in front of my kids, all right when I'm dying!" McGuire is reported as having told one guard. "I ain't gonna do this. It's about me and my kids, not him and his cause!"

I don't believe there was any actual faking.  In addition to McGuire's statement, there is a more basic reason.  He couldn't fake for the same reason he couldn't feel pain.  The procedure began with a massive dose of sedative.

The Office of the Public Defender lifted the attorney's suspension after "an internal review failed to substantiate the allegation."  I don't think the public should settle for that.  Public defender's offices in many places have developed a fanatical anti-death-penalty culture.  We should not trust an internal review.


This story, if true, is appalling on so many levels. Not only is this behavior dishonest and slimy in the extreme, it is shockingly disrespectful to McGuire, who, no matter how much he may have deserved the ultimate punishment, was still a human being who was about to die.

Also, although I've seen numerous front-page articles about the supposedly "botched" execution itself, this story was in a tiny little blurb on an inside page in my morning newspaper. That is appalling as well.

When I first thought about this, I thought, "Meh." But I was wrong. There are two issues--one, the duty of loyalty to the client and two, the duty of candor to a tribunal.

This appears to be an attempt to present false evidence to courts in an attempt to thwart justice.

And Kent, I agree that the Public Defender is not the right person to investigate.

Leave a comment

Monthly Archives