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July 9, 2005

Notable ruling on constitutionality of lethal injection

As detailed in this AP article, a "state judge yesterday upheld the use of lethal injection in Kentucky, saying it is not cruel and unusual punishment."  This ruling is noteworthy in part because, as detailed in this post, the Kentucky court had conducted a full and balanced evidentiary hearing on this issue before ruling. 

As noted in this recent article, the Tennessee Supreme Court heard arguments last month in a case challenging the use of a particular drug in the lethal injection process, and this Kentucky ruling is likely to work its way up the appellate process.  The constitutionality of lethal injection protocols is an issue that will likely keep lower courts busy until the US Supreme Court takes it up.  In the meantime, the prior posts below provide more background on the issue:

UPDATE: Thanks to Karl Keys of Capital Defense Weekly, I can now provide this link to the lethal injection ruling in Baze v. Rees, No. 04-CI-01094 (Ky. Cir. Ct. July 8, 2005).  As Karl notes in the comments, the decision is more nuanced than press accounts indicate.

July 9, 2005 at 01:49 PM | Permalink

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Comments

The AP article is slightly misleading as the opinion is more nuanced than "Cruel & Unusual" or not. The opinion finds, in fact, that at least part of the LI procedure (the so-called cut-down procedure) would be C&U and that the process should be shown from start to ending, something the current protocol doesn't have. The full opinion is available here

- karl


Posted by: karl | Jul 9, 2005 7:43:02 PM

The AP article is slightly misleading as the opinion is more nuanced than "Cruel & Unusual" or not. The opinion finds, in fact, that at least part of the LI procedure (the so-called cut-down procedure) would be C&U and that the process should be shown from start to ending, something the current protocol doesn't have. The full opinion is available at http://capitaldefenseweekly.com/KY_lethal_injection_opinion.pdf

- karl


Posted by: karl | Jul 9, 2005 7:43:35 PM

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