Cleve Foster has been hours away from execution on death row in Texas only to win a reprieve at the last minute, two times in just the past year and a half.
Whether or not you support the death penalty, Cleve Foster’s case is one that really seems to foreground the practice’s brutality. Twice Foster has been moments away from being put to death, and twice, he has been spared and placed back on death row as the slow wheels of justice grind in his execution.
Foster, like many death row inmates, claims innocence in the case. A former US Army recruiter convicted in the murder of 30-year-old Sudanese woman, Nyaneur Pal, Foster describes a death row process that while certainly punitive, also appears archaic and medieval:
“It’s like stepping back in time, dungeons and dragons … Going inside, it’s a little spooky. You can tell it’s been there a while … Everything’s polished, but still it’s real old. You look down the row. History just screams at you … It’s almost like ‘Hotel California,’ … You can check out anytime, but you can’t leave.”
Cleve Foster’s perspective on death row is indeed a unique one, as many men who come so close to visiting it don’t live to tell the tale. He says:
“That last visit … that’s the only thing that bothers me … The 12 o’clock-hour hits. A dozen or so guards come to escort you.”
Foster is again set to visit death row this Tuesday, but Foster has faith that he will be spared — he says:
“I don’t want to sound vain, but I have confidence in my attorney and confidence in my God … I can win either way.”
Do you think the treatment of death row inmates like Cleve Foster is cruel and unusual, or do you think that murder victims are not spared the pain and horror of being killed and lack the concessions given prisoners?