This is an update to a blog we posted yesterday, and only further strengthens our conviction that information regarding the use of unknown lethal injection drugs should be turned over immediately.

Yesterday’s post focused on the case of Joseph Wood, a death row inmate in Arizona who was granted a stay of execution by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals based upon arguments by Wood’s lawyer that he had a First Amendment right to information regarding the manner in which he was to be put to death. The Supreme Court late Tuesday overruled that stay, and denied another request for a stay, sealing Mr. Wood’s fate.

Today, we awoke to the horrific news that Mr. Woods was executed by Arizona state prison officials late Wednesday and his death appears to have been a tortured one.

The botched execution took more than 90 minutes, some estimates put it at about two hours, as Woods gasped and snorted before death finally took him. The gruesome development prompted the state’s governor to order an immediate investigation. The Arizona State Supreme Court has mandated the preservation of whatever drugs were leftover following the execution.

Botched executions are, sadly, nothing new in the United States. Two similar cases have taken place within the past year alone, including the death of an inmate in Ohio whose botched execution has been linked to the same supply of fatal drugs that were used in Wood’s execution Wednesday night. This is fueling an already hot national debate on capital punishment. The cases highlight the usual ethical and moral issues. The punishing and drawn-out deaths also draw attention to the unpredictable outcomes of lethal injection and other barbaric methods that have been used in various states, from gas chambers to hanging.

In addition to the political forces that are gearing up on both sides of the debate, no doubt new legal arguments are brewing as other inmates, and their attorneys, seek to uncover basic information about the drugs being used to execute prisoners and the people administering those drugs. Hopefully, those efforts will prove successful.

We can also hope that someday the United States, as a civilized nation, could come to the same understanding as many of our counterparts in the UK and Europe; capital punishment is not only financially prohibitive but also a poor response to violent crime. Though proponents worry that abolishment of the death penalty could lead to a free-for-all of violent crime, statistics in many countries that have already done away with the practice prove otherwise. Justice certainly should be sought when law are broken. But we must ask ourselves at what point do we stop equating justice with revenge?