We can appreciate the feelings of people who oppose the death penalty on moral grounds, although we believe there are some crimes so vicious that no other sentence is appropriate.

To that extent, we believe that even in murder cases, a death sentence should be an exception rather than the norm. We also believe that when a death sentence is ordered, it should be carried out within a normal period of time; not allow the convicted killer to languish on death row for years.

A recent unanimous opinion of the U.S. Supreme Court, written by Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, caught our interest. It opened the door for those sentenced to death by lethal injection to appeal to the federal courts on constitutional grounds.

They can claim that chemicals used in executions are too painful, and therefore constitute “cruel and unusual punishment.”

What are the justices thinking? Lethal injection was adopted as a humane form of execution to get rid of the horrors of the electric chair and gas chamber.

Where do we turn next, when execution is the only punishment that will suffice in cases of wanton and vicious killings? Perhaps we will have to consider going back to hanging?

By the way, while many people may oppose executions in any case, many others believe a killer should receive no more humane treatment than he or she gave the victim, or in many cases, victims.

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