Premeditated Execution

The Supreme Court is the death penalty's final arbiter, but the U.S. must decide what it achieves

AS BEFITS THE NATION WHOSE SUPERMARKETS and shopping malls bedazzle visitors from less fortunate lands, the U.S. offers more variety in its ways of putting ! prisoners to death than any other country on earth. Under assorted laws in the 36 states of the union that mandate capital punishment, the condemned may die, in ascending order of frequency, by being hanged, by being shot by a firing squad, by inhaling cyanide gas, by electrocution or -- the newest method and a dog's death in more ways than one -- by being administered poison through an intravenous drip. Unlike at the mall,...

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