Tuesday August 24, 2021 | 2 a.m
Nevada’s death penalty system is extremely flawed – a striking example of its shortcomings is the case of Zane Floyd.
Floyd is a veteran with brain damage who could be executed this fall. Ideally, the legal system would protect the innocent and ensure that only the guilty are punished, but in reality the system can never completely overcome human error or deal with all the nuances of every case.
The System Failed Floyd: His jury never heard of his traumatic childhood, his mother’s alcohol use that resulted in permanent brain damage, and Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder. They never heard of his severe PTSD as a Marine at Guantanamo Bay, which went untreated for years before his tragic crime took place. The jury was unable to assess how his young age at the time of his crime, combined with his mental disabilities, would have affected his behavior. Additionally, the state is seeking to execute Floyd with an experimental, untested method that is used to euthanize pets; such methods constitute cruel and unusual punishment.
There is no doubt that Floyd’s crimes are wrong and he should be held accountable. However, when we think about who the death penalty is reserved for, it is immoral to execute mentally disabled veterans with mental health issues, especially when we have alternatives to adequately punish the crimes. It is time to rethink the death penalty system that would allow this.