HOT TAPE: The Angel Of Death Meets The BBC

This is an extraordinary piece of tape. The BBC interviews Utah state Rep. Paul Ray (R-Clearfield) who sponsored the bill that reinstates the use of firing squads to execute death row prisoners, which was passed by the Utah legislature earlier this month and was just signed into law by the governor. The firing squad is Ray’s solution to the intentional shortage of lethal injection drugs — European pharmaceutical makers refuse to sell the drugs to anyone using them to execute prisoners — and he sounds positively giddy that the killing floors of the Utah penal system will soon run red again. Certain that there has never been an innocent man put to death in Utah, and that everyone on death row is a ‘monster,’ Ray can’t wait to fire up the firing squad. He assures the BBC interviewer that there will be no shortage of law enforcement personnel happy to empty the magazine of a Winchester into the twitching torso of a man tied to a chair with a hood over his head. There will be no need for random blanks to assuage their conscience. They will all sleep like babies. He’s like the angel of death disguised as William Macy in Fargo. You gotta hear this.

RELATED: On Friday, the Utah Supreme Court decided to uphold a district court ruling that found Debra Brown Rick Egan  |  The Salt Lake TribuneWednesday, June 1, 2011“factually innocent” of murder. This decision makes Brown’s exoneration official, in spite of the Utah Attorney General’s appeal in 2011, and it means that she will not serve any more time in prison. The Deseret News reports: “We affirm the post-conviction court,” Chief Justice Matthew Durrant wrote. “We hold that a post-conviction determination of factual innocence can be based on both newly discovered evidence and previously available evidence.” Debra Brown spent 17 years in prison for the 1993 murder of her boss and family friend, Lael Brown, who she discovered dead in his home from three gunshot wounds. MORE

A report released today by the Innocence Project shows that of the more than 240 people exonerated through DNA testing nationwide, 40% have not received any form of assistance after their release. Among those who have been compensated under state laws, the vast majority received very small amounts of money and no social services, the report finds. While exonerees are stripped of their property, jobs, freedom and reputation, only 10 states include provisions for services within their compensation laws. The report comes as a staggering 23 states in the nation do not offer any compensation to the exonerated. Exonerated people who live in one of the 27 states that have a compensation law may file for state compensation, but the average length of time exonerees wait to receive funds is almost three full years. MORE