Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Supreme Court upholds use of lethal injection for executions

The Supreme Court upheld use of a lethal injection cocktail for executions, by a 7-2 vote – turning back a constitutional challenge that argued it was cruel and unusual punishment.

At issue was whether the most common method of capital punishment can cause excruciating pain for death row inmates, violating the Constitution's ban on "cruel and unusual punishment," and thereby giving inmates a proper challenge in court.

The Court rejected claims by two Kentucky death row inmates that the method violated the Eighth Amendment ban on cruel and unusual punishment by inflicting needless pain and suffering, mostly in the risk that the designated procedures would not be properly followed in all cases.

The justices spent nearly six months debating behind closed doors.

For more information:

High court upholds lethal injection method (CNN)
Executions to resume after high court OK's lethal injections (Chicago Tribune)
Supreme Court Allows Lethal Injection for Execution (NY Times)

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