Botched Executions

Post-Furman Botched Executions by Michael L. Radelet, University of Florida

1.  August 10, 1982.  Virginia.  Frank J. Coppola.  Electrocution.  Although no media representatives witnessed the execution and no details were ever released by the Virginia Department of Corrections, an attorney who was present later stated that it took two 55-second jolts of electricity to kill Coppola.  The second jolt produced the odor and sizzling sound of burning flesh, and Coppola's head and leg caught on fire.  Smoke filled the death chamber from floor to ceiling with


Since 1976, 288 death row prisoners have been granted clemency for humanitarian reasons. Humanitarian reasons include doubts about the defendant's guilt or judgments about the death penalty by the governor. The clemency process varies from state to state, typically involving the governor or a board of advisors, or both.


To End the Death Penalty: A Report of the National Jewish/Catholic Consultation

Co-sponsored by the National Council of Synagogues and the Bishops' Committee for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops1

"A Sanhedrin that puts one person to death once in seven years is called destructive. Rabbi Eliezer ben Azariah says: Or even once in seventy years. Rabbi Tarfon and Rabbi Akiba say: Had we been the Sanhedrin, none would ever have been put to death." Mishnah Makkot, 1:10 (2nd Century, C.E.)