Marco Chapman, a Kentucky murderer scheduled to be executed today, dropped his appeals, reports the Associated Press. “What do you say?” asks his public defender, John Delaney. The question has arisen 131 times since states resumed executions in 1977. “We’re trained as lawyers to be an advocate for someone and fight as hard as we can,” said Stephen Harris, a University of Baltimore law professor who represented an execution volunteer. “Here’s someone who says, ‘I don’t want you,’ then, ‘I want to die.”‘
The 129 men and two women who have agreed to be executed cited remorse, a desire for atonement, and not wanting to spend their lives in prison, says the Death Penalty Information Center, an anti-capital punishment group. About 12 percent of the 1,133 inmates executed in the U.S. since 1977 abandoned their appeals and asked for their sentences to be carried out, said center director Richard Dieter. Attorneys are required to follow the client’s wishes or have themselves removed from the case, said Michael Mello, a Vermont Law School professor.