Execution survived! – Torture continues in the USA

On September 22, 2022, the execution of Alan Eugene Miller took place in Alabama. Due to time constraints, it was then stopped after the executioners failed to find an access to his veins. The U.S. Federal Court had last allowed this execution.

The execution of Alan Eugene Miller had been halted by a district judge. In a preliminary injunction, this court prohibited the U.S. state of Alabama from murdering Alan Eugene Miller by lethal injection. Miller had “opted in” to nitrogen hypoxia in mid-2018 and handed the form in question to law enforcement officials. The state, however, claims to have not received such a document. Alabama has allowed executions using nitrogen since 2018, but has not yet developed a valid procedure for doing so.

Alabama Corrections Commissioner John Hamm said around 11:30 p.m., officials made the decision to stop the execution. “Due to time constraints resulting from the lateness of the court proceedings, the execution was called off once it was determined the condemned inmate’s veins could not be accessed in accordance with our protocol before the expiration of the death warrant,” so John Hamm. The execution team had attempted to establish intravenous access, but they were unsuccessful.

Alan Eugene Miller reported painful attempts to draw his blood, and the killing method with nitrogen reminded him of the nitrous oxide used by dentists. He hoped this would be “better” than lethal injection.
He said of a possible execution by injection, “I didn’t want to be stabbed with a needle”

This procedure in Alabama shows what torture this US state is capable of and that even the federal court has nothing against such torture methods!
Because what is it other than torture, if a prisoner is locked up for many years, with the announcement to kill him sometime. To tie him then, after the execution was actually forbidden, nevertheless on the death cross and to hunt him in a painful procedure needles into the body, on the search for his veins… – And break off this killing attempt then finally for “appointment reasons” and to bring him again into his normal cell. Where he now sits knowing “they will do it again…”. And what a mental torture this is for all the people who are connected to the convict as friends and family.

In the last time we are preached again and again in the media about the oh so noble “western values”… In the face of such torture in the USA these so-called values prove to be a mendacious farce, which is not worth to be defended! But the murderous actions in the USA must be fought with emphasis!

Peter K.

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“No Death Penalty: NO EXCEPTIONS!”

The Perspective of L’chaim! Jews Against the Death Penalty
by Cantor/Chaplain Michael Zoosman

On behalf of all international members of “L’chaim! Jews Against the Death Penalty”, it is a great honor to be asked to write a guest blog for the “IHfl – Blog: Death Penalty News”.

A word about who we are. We, the members of  “L’chaim! Jews Against the Death Penalty,” stand united against capital punishment in EVERY SINGLE case – for both the innocent AND the guilty – with NO exceptions. We are aligned with Holocaust survivor and Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel (1928-2016) and countless other survivors and children of survivors who realized after the Holocaust that a state with the power to murder its own defenseless citizens has NO PLACE in the civilized world. This applies to the United States, which employs the Nazi T4 legacy that is “lethal injection,” as well as gas chambers – including one that uses Zyklon B, as used in Auschwitz – electrocution and firing squads. Capital punishment is a racist, human rights BARBARISM that makes the United States a laughingstock as we deign to advocate for the advancement of human civilization. To quote Elie Wiesel: “Death is not the answer.” Professor Wiesel also famously said this: “With every cell of my being and with every fiber of my memory I oppose the death penalty in all forms. I do not believe any civilized society should be at the service of death. I don’t think it’s human to become an agent of the angel of death.” THIS is our anthem.

You can read more about our views on this subject in our blog with the Times of Israel here: https://blogs.timesofisrael.com/author/michael-zoosman/
You can also read sources that have been collected from across the Jewish world on this subject at the website of our partners at Death Penalty Action: http://deathpenaltyaction.org/jewish-action

To be sure, not all in the Jewish world are abolitionists. Many individuals are unaware of the Nazi legacies of the execution methods shared above. Our job is to inform them, and to mobilize the Jewish world against this horror. When we do reveal this historical fact to others, many of them join our ranks. Yet, some remain steadfast in supporting death, citing the antiquated and rabbinically redacted idea of “an eye for an eye,” an idea that had been practically legislated away in the Talmud. (Please see copious writings and sources on this here: http://deathpenaltyaction.org/jewish-action) Others, still, retort with a response that asks: “but what would you have done with captured Nazis like Eichmann…or Hitler?!”

Our answer to that question is as clear as the clarion call of the shofar/ram’s horn that we will soon blow at Rosh Hashanah/the Jewish New Year: we are against the death penalty in ALL cases. This INCLUDES the members of the Third Reich. We stand with Martin Buber and the countless Jewish leaders who were appalled at the Israeli government’s execution of Adolf Eichmann and protested it until the very end. (Here is one of many articles about this: https://blog.nli.org.il/en/hoi_eichmann_opposition/) Indeed, over time more and more Holocuast survivors like Eva Mosez Kor (https://candlesholocaustmuseum.org/our-survivors/eva-kor/her-story/her-story.html) and their scions began to champion ideas of restorative justice, rather than execution. For a most powerful example of this, please see this stirring op ed from renowned Jewish abolitionist and third-generation Holocaust survivor Stephen Cooper, entitled “A Life Without Parole Sentence – not the Death Penalty – for Hitler” https://www.citywatchla.com/index.php/important-reads/13385-a-life-without-parole-sentence-not-the-death-penalty-for-hitler

Indeed, I myself am symbolic of the evolving attitudes on this issue in recent generations. I, too, am a third-generation Holocaust suvivor. Growing up, I ardently supported the idea of putting to death those individuals who murdered my many extended family members. Then, I became a cantor and prison chaplain and realized that people who have done horrible things can and do change.

(For my own journey, please see here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1IWRihovxhBVMbU0G6WvLnKWLzpWMvWRu-TEvAoCBq8A/edit?usp=sharing)

I saw the proverbial light when I realized that by killing those who had killed my family members, I would be lowering myself to that level, rather than helping to raise us all up. I learned the truth of the notion that Mahatma Gandhi, of blessed memory, put most powerfully when he said “An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.”

As I started to get more involved in the abolitionist world, I began to encounter many other Jewish death penalty death penalty abolitionists…

…like Abe Bonowitz, Director of Death Penalty Action (http://deathpenaltyaction.org/),
…like Israel’s Karine Omry of the Death Row Soul Collective (https://www.deathrowsoulcollective.com/),
…like Elyse Max, Executive Director of Missourians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty (https://www.madpmo.org/)
…like Rabbi Shmuly Yanklowitz and Eddie Chavez Calderon of the inspiriting Orthodox Social Justice organization Uri L’Tzedek (https://utzedek.org) and Arizona Jews for Justice, http://www.arizonajewsforjustice.org/
… like film director Sabrina van Tassel, who made the life-saving documentary movie “The State of Texas vs. Melissa”
(for more about that initiative, please see here: https://blogs.timesofisrael.com/pikuach-nefesh-jewish-abolitionists-help-save-the-life-of-melissa-lucio/)

The list goes on and on. To be sure, more and more umbrella organizations of Jewish institutions continue to come out against the death penalty from across the Jewish world.

As for us at “L’chaim!”, we shall never look back. Our ranks continue to grow DAILY as we have received growing exposure, and sponsorship from wonderful Jewish organizations like T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights, (https://truah.org/resources/parshat-shoftim-michael-zoosman-moraltorah/), which endorsed our chanting of Kol Nidrei, the consummate prayer asking for forgiveness, for the national sin of the death penalty. We carried out this solemn act in front of the US Supreme Court these past two years as part of the Annual Fast and Vigil to Abolish the Death Penalty. (https://momentmag.com/death-penalty-kol-nidre/)

And yet: the fight continues. We have been publicly targeted by antisemitic pro-death penalty groups in our nation and have had to report such groups to the Anti-Defamation League and the FBI. NEVER AGAIN shall we allow such forces to silence us!

And that is not all. As I write these words, we now face the prospect of new American gas chambers being used to kill people across our land (please see here: https://actionnetwork.org/petitions/say-no-to-the-gas-chamber). One would think this would be anathema for Americans, who would realize that this CANNOT stand in the wake of the events of the 20th century. And yet, here are some comments we received on social media when we alerted people to this development just this past week:

THIS is what happens when we open the door and invite in Malakh HaMavet – the Angel of Death. The result is that all bets soon become off when it comes to the promise of basic human decency. The world learned this the hard way from the Nazis. We CANNOT allow this to happen on our watch.

State-sponsored murder must END.
Elie Wiesel knew it.
Martin Buber knew it.
The POPE knows it. (https://deathpenaltyinfo.org/stories/news-brief-pope-francis-calls-for-prayer-to-abolish-the-death-penalty)
The members of L’chaim know it.
how about YOU?

If so, please join our cause, and our resounding call, as we loudly chant…

“L’chaim – To Life!”

Cantor Michael Zoosman, MSM,
Board Certified Chaplain, Neshama: Association of Jewish Chaplains
Founder: “L’chaim: Jews Against the Death Penalty” https://www.facebook.com/groups/996205437512710/ (we welcome ALL allies)
Advisory Board Member, Death Penalty Action

We, the IHfL, would like to sincerely thank Cantor Michael Zoosman for his informative and important contribution, as well as his courageous stand against the death penalty!
Peter K.

Please support our work. The support of the prisoners we care for, as well as our work against the death penalty, is on a honorary basis. Therefore we ask for donations for our work. If you would like to help, please click on the following image:

Direct URL: https://ihfl.de/st-konto.htm

IHfL publishes words and paintings by Richard Rhodes from Florida death row

We are pleased to present texts and paintings by Richard Rhodes on our website. In addition to his fantastically beautiful paintings, which we display on the site, Richard writes about his life on death row, which he has endured since 1985.
He writes to us about it:

Richard Rhodes (aka Muggy)

If the DOC* doesn’t like it , to bad… What are they going to do , arrest me ? Convict me ? Put me on death row ?
There’s and old saying , ” A MAN WHO HAS NOTHING , HAS NOTHING TO LOSE…” The truth has everything to be gained , and all I have left to me are my words…

*(Department of Corrections)

Richard Rhodes (aka Muggy)

This new website will be updated again and again and in the course of time will certainly contain many contributions from him. So it’s worth to have a look every now and then and discover new things.

In the menu above there is a corresponding entry to find the page. Just click on Muggy above.

Or just click here on Muggy

Peter K.

Please support our work. The support of the prisoners we care for, as well as our work against the death penalty, is on a honorary basis. Therefore we ask for donations for our work. If you would like to help, please click on the following image:

Direct URL: https://ihfl.de/st-konto.htm

Texas: John Ramirez to be executed Oct. 5 – But prosecutor opposes executions!

The U.S. state of Texas plans to execute John Ramirez, who was sentenced to death for murder, by lethal injection on Oct. 5, 2022. Ramirez allegedly killed a man, along with two accomplices, in 2004.
District Attorney Mark Gonzalez is seeking to withdraw the execution order for John Ramirez, calling the death penalty “unethical.”

In 2004, John Ramirez was allegedly involved in a robbery of Pablo Castro. Ramirez himself allegedly killed the victim. He and his accomplices were looking for money to buy drugs. Ramirez subsequently fled and was not arrested until 2008 and he was sentenced to death in 2009. No exculpatory evidence was presented in the process, what was allegedly initiated by himself in this way. Ramirez also tried to hasten his execution.

Ramirez wrote a letter to Judge Galvan stating why he wished to waive appeal: “I hope justice will be served for the family and friends of Pablo Castro in a speedy fashion… They’ve waited long enough!”

He also told a psychologist that life on death row was unbearable, a life of boredom, and really just a garbage life. The psychologist explained that Ramirez reported being frustrated, depressed, and bitter, and that he assumed Ramirez would view his appeals differently if he were not so depressed.

He said to the psychologist:: “But why stall the inevitable? It’s on their terms… I’d understand if I had support, (someone to) just show me you care … I prefer to go on my own terms. It’s a personal choice, not like I’m being forced to the decision.” – He is not afraid of death and talked about finding God.

Now Ramirez has decided he doesn’t want to die, as he learned that he has a half-sister who would like to meet him and who is asking him to stay alive.

However, his efforts to overturn the sentence have so far been unsuccessful and he already had an execution date in February 2017, but because his lawyer had left him, he was granted a stay to find new defense counsel.

Another execution date for Aug. 14, 2020, was postponed because of the Covid-19 pandemic. Also on and Sept. 08, 2021, the U.S. state wanted to assassinate in. This time, that attempt failed because of a lawsuit filed by Ramirez over the fact that he was not allowed to have a clergyman bless him by laying on of hands during the execution. The state’s refusal to allow Pastor Moore to bless Ramirez by laying on of hands while he was dying violated his First Amendment rights to freely practice his religion, Ramirez said.

The Supreme Court now ruled in the spring of 2022 that Texas must allow the pastor of the prisoner sentenced to death to touch him and pray for him during his execution. As a result, the execution date was set for Oct. 5, 2022.

Mark Gonzales

Nueces County District Attorney Mark Gonzalez, however, has filed a motion for a stay of execution because he believes that neither Ramirez, nor anyone at all, should be executed because he believes executions are “unethical.” Gonzales writes in his motion: “The undersigned District Attorney for Nueces County has the firm belief that the death penalty is unethical and should not be imposed on Mr. Ramirez or any other person while the undersigned occupies the office in question,” Gonzalez wrote in the April 14, 2022 motion to withdraw the order setting the execution. “The Assistant District Attorney who most recently moved for an execution date in this cause was not aware of my desire in this matter and did not consult me prior to moving for an execution date.”


Petition für John Ramirez

Contact Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles:
Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles
P. O. Box 13401
Austin, Texas 78711-3401
E-mail: bpp_pio@tdcj.texas.gov

Contact Texas Governor:
Governor Greg Abbott
Office of the Governor
PO Box 12428
Austin, TX 78711-2428
Twitter: https://twitter.com/GovAbbott

What insanity… What a brave prosecutor to stand up to the vengeful death machine in Texas… What mistreatment of the condemned man who has faced three execution dates and now faces the 4th…
Yes, that is exactly what is “unethical.” It is unethical to lock people up, sometimes for decades, knowing that they will eventually be executed. It is unethical to murder people in the name of justice and revenge. It is unethical to designate people to kill the condemned and thereby make them murderers. Yes, and it is unethical to do this traumatizing madness to all the people close to the prisoner.
We bow to this district attorney who is on the side of life with his ethics and is trying to put an end to state murder

Peter K.


Please support our work. The support of the prisoners we care for, as well as our work against the death penalty, is on a honorary basis. Therefore we ask for donations for our work. If you would like to help, please click on the following image:

Direct URL: https://ihfl.de/st-konto.htm

Alan Eugene Miller to be executed Sept. 22

The U.S. state of Alabama plans to execute Alan Eugene Miller, sentenced to death for murder, by lethal injection on Sept. 22, 2022, even though the condemned man “chose” a different method of execution.

Miller’s defense has requested a court order blocking the scheduled execution. Austin Huffaker (U.S. District Judge) has given the condemned man until Monday to comment on why the prosecution’s request for his execution should not be granted.

In fact, in the past, those sentenced to death in Alabama have had the option to “choose” their method of execution. Currently, lethal injection is the standard method of killing in Alabama. However, in 2018, the state approved another method, nitrogen hypoxia, and gave prisoners a short window of time to “choose” between the two methods.

Miller “opted” for nitrogen hypoxia in mid-2018 and provided the relevant form to a correctional officer. The state, however, claims not to have received such a document and, to that extent, intends to murder Miller using the standard method.

In fact, Alabama does not yet have a protocol for carrying out an execution using nitrogen. In this respect, all prisoners who have “opted” for this method cannot be executed at this time. The prosecution is now trying to undermine this fact by claiming that they do not have a decision on Miller’s case.

The defense also argues that there have been problems with previous lethal injection executions, such as Joe Nathan James’ in June of this year. Opponents of the death penalty say this execution was botched. “The information that is publicly available to date shows that Mr. James’s body was in ‘great distress’ during the execution as executioners sliced into his skin several times to find a vein, and that he suffered many ‘unusual punctures’ that do not normally appear on an executed body,” Miller’s defense attorneys wrote.

Miller was convicted of a rampage. He killed Lee Holdbrooks, Scott Yancy and Terry Jarvis in Shelby County south of Birmingham. According to testimony, there was much to suggest that Miller acted delusionally because he believed the men were spreading rumors that he was gay.



Contact Governor Kay Ivey:
Mail: governorkayivey@governor.state.al.us

Interesting detail on the side. Miller’s rampage is a frightening illustration of what sexual phobia, and in this particular case homophobia, can lead to. People with special sexuality, like homosexuals, are often severely hurt by homophobia already in childhood. Yes, in many circles here in Germany, for example, even the word “gay” is an adjective that has negative connotations, and even in completely different contexts. So one gets to hear again and again sentences like e.g.: “boah, what a gay car” if you don’t like the car and similar… So already children learn from the adults of the majority society that it is something very negative to be gay… This leads in many gay youths to suicide attempts, denial of their own identity and sometimes also to self-hatred….
This is the fuel for such tragedies as the killing spree of Alan Eugene Miller. That is at least the complicity of a part of the majority society in such terrible events… And exactly such people want to clear themselves with the execution of persons declared to be monsters, from their own arrogance and cruelty, their own guilt. One more reason to be against the death penalty, because an isolated guilt exists extremely rarely…

Peter K.


The support of the prisoners we care for, as well as our work against the death penalty, is on a voluntary basis. Therefore we ask for donations for our work. If you would like to help, please click on the following image: