Tinkering with Death*
I woke with a start and sat upright in the darkness.
He must be dead by now.
The thought filled my head and gave me a weird sense of relief. But no, it couldn't be. The execution was set for Sunday morning at seven—long after daybreak. The display on the digital clock showed 1:23. I fell back on my pillow and tried to chase Thomas Baal from my mind.
I had first heard his name just three days earlier. My friend and mentor Supreme Court Justice Anthony M. Kennedy had mentioned during a telephone conversation that an execution was scheduled that night somewhere in my jurisdiction. As a judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, I hear cases from nine states and two territories spread over the Western United States and Oceania.____________________