Thursday, April 17, 2008

Problems for Lethal Injection Remain

New York Times - Executions in Texas, Alabama and other Southern states with large death rows are likely to resume shortly in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision Wednesday upholding Kentucky’s method of putting condemned prisoners to death.

But the fractured decision may actually slow executions elsewhere, legal experts said, as lawyers for death row inmates undertake fresh challenges based on its newly announced legal standards.


Adam Liptak has done his homework again when it comes to the death penalty. The death penalty as public policy is showing tremendous strain, and not just in terms of execution protocols. The majority of justices elected not to tamper with the prevailing method of execution, but did issue warnings, thus creating the opening for more litigation.

One of the more remarkable statements by Chief Justice Roberts concerned the alternative method of execution proposed by the petitioners. In essence, an alternative to the three-drug "cocktail" is one adequate dose of a barbiturate. Justice Roberts, writing for the majority, believes that the method used to euthanize animals has no relevance to the execution of humans even though 23 states, including Kentucky, ban the use of paralytic agents (which is the second chemical administered during an execution).

More expensive litigation to follow this botched decision.

1 comment:

Dan Greenleaf said...

I think that our legal system has gone too far. We are so concerned about upholding all of our rigid legal constructs that we miss the whole point. Now that the Supreme Court took the easy way out, we have states doing whatever they want and two criminals who have the exact same circumstances are getting different consequences. This is ridiculous. People should be more concerned with doing the right thing then going about it the "right" way in a system that is backwards.