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ALAN POGUE Attorney General Mattox at Capitol hearing the Supreme Court would rule, but what the average citizen would consider to be fair.” The rules against cameras were made before the development of silent video cameras, he said. “I think it would be beneficial to the public to allow them to see a pool-camera replay of the activity,” he said. “I do not see any real reason why we should not let a tape recorder or a mounted camera be used to permanently record the actions.” On the other hand, he added, “I’m not one of those people that advocates that you do it in the middle of the Cotton Bowl.” Although he has watched 22 men die from the state’s lethal injections in the death chamber at Huntsville, Mattox made what is apparently a mistake in describing what the state does. In the course of stating his opinion that “lethal injection is probably the most humanitarian way by which the death penalty can be carried out,” he said during the interview: “The individual is sedated just as if a person were going to have a standard operation. Very shortly he is sedated.” Then and only then, Mattox said, the lethal chemicals are fed into the condemned man’s veins. Not so, said Charles Brown one night in his office at the Huntsville prison. “They put two intravenous catheters in with a normal saline solution to check the flow,” Brown explained. Then three chemicals are fed in, sodium thiopental, pavulon, and potassium chloride. The sodium thiopental is the lethal ingredient. The pavulon is a muscle relaxant, and the potassium chloride stops the heart beat. IS THE DEATH PENALTY discriminatory in its application? This is a large question, of course. Last year in McCleskey v. Georgia the Supreme Court brushed aside by a 5-4 vote extensive statistical evidence that murderers of whites are much likelier to be executed than murderers of blacks. [See page 10.] “I think that the death penalty overall has a greater impact on people who are least able to afford superior attorneys,” Mattox said. “The problem is, you don’t find very many wealthy individuals robbing and killing at the local 7-11.” As for the racial dimension, “There may be [such discrimination], we could probably show that. Even the statistics in the McCleskey case indicated greater likelihood that a person would receive the death penalty if the victim was white. I think there probably is a correlation there.” When a condemned man assents, Mattox, accompanied by TDC Director Lynaugh, goes in shortly before midnight and talks with him. “Most of the inmates are very glad to see me,” he said. “Generally they are very gracious with me. They reach through_ the bars to shake hands and feel honored to meet a high public official. I think most of them know my reputation of being conscientious, ‘ caring, concerned about what’s happening. They do not sense a cruel person; they sense something different. “I am there to help explain the process, to give one more assurance. . . . I tell ’em the steps. I tell ’em that ordinarily the most painful aspect is putting in the needles. “I ask how they feel, how they’re doing. I sometimes talk with them on their thoughts on the death penalty. Sometimes I ask whether or not they want to give any kind of message for me to pass along, or want me to say anything afterward. Sometimes, frequently, we discuss very briefly their religious view of what’s taking place.” And what is the Attorney General feeling himself? He says his feelings run the whole range, “from thinking the man’s getting probably what he deserves, to the point of having real concern about whether or not this is the appropriate thing to be taking place. “If someone has ever been around an animal, a dog or cat or any other, that you would have some feelings for, and that animal must be put to death, there is a feeling of concern for that animal. That same kind of occasion has probably even more dramatic effect when it’s a human being. You are executing someone that you do not have a hatred for. He’s defenseless. He may know it’s not going to be painful, but most of the time he’s fearing the unknown. Most of us have thought about death, what it would be like, when it would come, how, and life hereafter if one believes in that. You see that process taking place in front of you. Most of us as compassionate human beings have a desire to help a person that is in agony . . . or in pain, emotional and physical.” What, then, are Mattox’s personal convictions about capital punishment? “I have very mixed feelings about capital punishment,” he said, “but I think that society has a right to demand individuals’ conformance to a code of conduct and to exact the death penalty. I think there are some circumstances in the role of a family member or a juror I would probably vote in favor of it, especially for premeditated murder within the prison system. “I have seen crimes that have been so terrible and unimaginable that it is very clear that the individual that committed that crime forfeits his right to live in a free society. Whether that individual is killed or not is an issue that does not particularly bother me one way or another.” In the context of remembering executions he has watched, however, Mattox remarked: “You’ve got to ask, ‘Is there any useful purpose that this person might serve if this were not taking place?’ ” What would be the attorney general’s position on the sentence of mandatory life in prison without possibility of parole? His first thought was that this might be “unsafe for the guards.” As things are now, a life sentence usually means that a prisoner will be eligible for freedom within 13 to 15 years. Thinking further, Mattox said of life without parole: “I think the jury probably should have that option. Society should have that option. There are death penalty cases where I think that would be more appropriate. . . . I do not wave the bloody shirt of execution. I’ve just seen so many terrible crimes.” Studies recently have established that the execution of a convicted felon is far more expensive for taxpayers than keeping him in prison for the rest of his life. For instance, in the Houston Chronicle March 13 this year Jonathan E. Gradess, executive director of the New York State Defenders Association in Albany, estimated, on the basis of a study conducted by his office, that carrying a capital case through the first three levels of review costs $1.8 million, compared to the $600,000 cost of life imprisonment for 40 years. “Estimates made in 1986 showed,” 8 APRIL 22, 1988