News Release

Another Grotesque Spectacle, this Time in Arizona, Demands Immediate End to the Death Penalty in America

Washington, DC (July 24, 2014) – It is reported that yesterday's execution of Joseph Rudolph Wood by the State of Arizona took nearly two hours, with Wood gasping for more than an hour and a half after the lethal drugs were injected into him. According to an Associated Press reporter who witnessed this grotesque spectacle, shortly after the drugs were administered "the gasping began. Wood's jaw dropped, his chest expanded, and he let out a gasp. The gasps repeated every five to 12 seconds. They went on and on, hundreds of times. An administrator checked on him a half-dozen times. He could be heard snoring loudly when an administrator turned on a microphone to inform the gallery that Wood was still sedated, despite the audible sounds."

NACDL President Jerry J. Cox said: "NACDL unequivocally opposes the death penalty on numerous grounds. Yesterday's botched execution of Joseph Rudolph Wood is just the latest installment in a long series that should shock the conscience of all Americans. Our leaders must act immediately. We cannot accept this continued barbarism as the new normal. I have said it before and I will say it again. The death penalty is a stain on the honor of this great nation. And it must stop. Now." 

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Ivan J. Dominguez, Director of Public Affairs & Communications, (202) 465-7662 or

The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers is the preeminent organization advancing the mission of the criminal defense bar to ensure justice and due process for persons accused of crime or wrongdoing. A professional bar association founded in 1958, NACDL's many thousands of direct members in 28 countries – and 90 state, provincial and local affiliate organizations totaling up to 40,000 attorneys – include private criminal defense lawyers, public defenders, military defense counsel, law professors and judges committed to preserving fairness and promoting a rational and humane criminal legal system.