In a Utah courtroom Friday, 25 years after he was sentenced to death for killing a man during an escape attempt, he declared his preference to the judge: “I would like the firing squad, please.”…

This is from a surprising story in the New York Times today about a man opting for the firing squad rather than lethal injection because “It’s so much easier … and there’s no mistakes.”

According to Wikipedia of the 1,028 executions in this country from 1976 to 2010, only 2 were by firing squad. An additional 3 were by hanging, 11 by gas chamber, and 157 by electrocution. These four alternative methods to lethal injection are still allowed in some states today.

I had just always presumed that people would prefer lethal injection. But the fact that some prisoners prefer different methods begs the question of whether prisoners should have free choice of their death penalty method. If we are going to take someone’s life away, letting them choose how seems to be the least we can do for them. Should there be limits though? Should a prisoner be granted a request to be drawn and quartered? To most libertarians the primary goal is eliminating capital punishment altogether, but should some energy should be spent on fighting for death penalty choice?

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