US Supreme Court to reconsider use of lethal injection in death penalty
The US supreme court is set to consider whether the use of lethal injection in death penalty cases is unconstitutional.
Nearly all executions are carried out by lethal injection; it’s the preferred choice in 37 states and uses a three-drug cocktail of an anaesthetic, a muscle paralyser and a substance to stop the heart. But, after a report published in British medical journal The Lancet suggested it provided an agonising death, the procedure has become controversial.
The Supreme Court has agreed to hear a challenge from two inmates on death row in Kentucky – Ralph Baze and Thomas Clyde Bowling Jr – who, in 2004, sued the state claiming lethal injection was a cruel punishment that breaches the Eighth Amendment.
Baze was scheduled for execution tonight, but the Supreme Court has halted proceedings. It has been known to let state courts rule over lethal injections but, before now, it has not considered whether the lethal mix is unconstitutional.
David Barron, lawyer for Baze and Bowling, told the Times: ‘This is probably one of the most important cases in decades as it relates to the death penalty.’