Skip to comments.US inmates fight back against lethal injection execution (chemicals could cause added suffering )
Posted on 02/02/2006 10:42:30 PM PST by Former Military Chick
WASHINGTON (AFP) - The United States is taking a new look at the use of lethal injections to execute condemned prisoners after the challenges of three inmates who were barely saved from the needle by the Supreme Court.
The justices will not reopen the cases of Michael Taylor, a rapist and killer who was due to be executed in Missouri on Wednesday, or Clarence Hill and Arthur Rutherford, two convicted killers in Florida who have also had their executions stayed over the past eight days.
But the highest US court will decide whether the three can challenge the use of the deadly mix of sodium thiopental, pancuronium bromide and potassium chloride for executions.
Lawyers for Taylor, Hill and Rutherford are all arguing separately that the mix is "cruel" and "inhumane", which would make it proscribed by the US constitution.
John Simon, a lawyer for Taylor, whose victim was a 15-year-old girl, said he was not an abolitionist. He told AFP he was simply arguing that the chemicals could cause added suffering for his client when he is executed.
The Supreme Court halted Taylor's execution after its scheduled time. Hill had been strapped to a stretcher with intravenous tubes in his arm ready to receive the chemicals when word came through from the justices in Washington on January 24.
Stephen Harper, a law professor at the University of Miami, said the new challenges to the lethal injection followed the publication of a study by experts at the university in April last year which described the suffering of death row inmates given the death cocktail.
The researchers said in a letter to the British review, The Lancet, that sodium thiopental, which is used as an anaesthesia, may not work properly.
The pancuronium bromide is given next to induce paralysis, and finally potassium chloride to stop the heart and cause death.
"Without anaesthesia, the condemned person would experience suffocation and excruciating pain without being able to move or communicate that fact," said the study.
Of the 38 US states where the death penalty is still legal, 20 use just the injection and most of the others rely mainly on this form of execution.
More suspensions of death penalties are possible but experts said it does not mean that the lethal injection is seriously threatened yet.
Richard Dieter, executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center, which opposes capital punishment, said the Supreme Court will only decide whether the legality of the injections can be raised with lower courts as a civil rights matter.
"It is the first step in at least getting the matter into the court," he said.
"The bigger issue of lethal injection will get decided by many different courts and you may have many different opinions and that issue may come back to the Supreme Court to decide once and for all."
A final decision may take years.
In the meantime, death row inmates in Maryland, California and other states are now trying to get their executions suspended.
But not all of the challenges are working. Last week the Supreme Court voted 6-3 to let Indiana state execute Marvin Bieghler, overturning an appeals court decision clearing the way for him to challenge lethal injection as well.
Ok, then, so back to the ole russian/chinese method, single bullet to the back of the head. Don't feel a thing...
No one's complained yet.
If there is discomfort, it is fleeting and given what these monsters put their victims through, I'd consider it divine intervention if the anesthetic didn't do its thing. Besides, the Constitution reads "cruel and unusual," not "cruel and inhumane." It seems pretty usual to me and the words are joined by "and," not "or." Nice to know that murdering bastard got as far as to be strapped down with the IV started.
Oddly enough I have been getting notes saying well it was a delay verses stay. This article says STAY. In the end, this was inhumane to the victim's. Each day is painful.
For Taylor, he admitted to his actions, he should take his punishment like a man, oops he is no man, a thug instead.
Oh, and the likes of Jesse Jackson weren't there opposing his execution. They do not even care, unless you were someone like Tookie.
Oh better yet, this is based on a britsh review, who the hell are they to put their nose in our business? They want anaesthesia, fine give it to them. But, then there will be something else.
When did death become a painless event?
Plus, it's a lot cheaper.
We waste to much $ on executiuons, either shoot them with the firing squad or hang them till dead. If I were to be executed I would choose hanging, or bullets to the brain.
Say YES to the Guillotine!
I've heard that drowning isn't that bad.
The whole concept that the death penalty has to be painless is a ploy on the part of the anti-death penalty crowd [of fools] to gradually eliminate the death penalty altogether.
Why the he!! shoudn't execution hurt? It's okay by me if it hurts. It won't hurt for very long, anyway. The criminals who deserve execution certainly didn't show any compassion for their victims. Misplaced compassion for murderers has as bad a result as conscious cruelty.
Justice needs to be served. It is served by executing those who are guilty of capital crimes; which, btw, should be expanded.
Some states still allow hangings. Another did allow firing squad.
I say, if we are going to sentence a prisoner to death, we need to start ensuring that the sentences are carried out and not 20 years later in some cases.
What type of justice is that. Some might say it is still justice. Justice delayed is wrong.
Thanks for the comment.
Where does Alito stand on this?
Firing squad would be much quicker. I'm sure there would be no pain since death would be instantaneous.
Just give em an OVERDOSE of sodium thiopental...Keep pumping it in until they-are-dead. Case closed.
Go back to hanging. The rope is recyclable..
I concur with the "no 20 years of appeals". One appeal if it looks as though there was a miscarriage of justice, new evidence, or something of the sort. That's it.
Mercy to the cruel is cruelty to the innocent.
I agree, after you found guilty your execution should be like within a 3-5 year window.
If you hypathetically did some heinous crime and your ordered to be executed and you had a choice of your execution what would you choose? I think I would choose hanging with a thick black bag over my head.
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