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May 10, 2008

Justice Stevens horsing around about lethal injections

I headed home early from the Sixth Circuit Judicial Conference, and so I missed Justice Stevens speaking at the big conference dinner.  But this local report suggests Justice Stevens was his usual sharp commentor on the legal (and sporting) news of the day:

Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens drew a round of applause Friday night in Chattanooga when he suggested that the recently-euthanized Kentucky Derby horse Eight Bells had probably experienced a more humane death than those who die on death row.

“I had checked the procedure they used to kill the horse,” Justice Stevens said, expressing surprise to learn it is against the law in Kentucky to kill animals using one of the drugs in a three-drug lethal injection cocktail that many believe is cruel to humans.

Also, this companion MP3 link records Justice Stevens talking about having interviewed Ty Cobb in his pre-judiciary days.

Some related posts:

May 10, 2008 at 02:49 PM | Permalink


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Especially for a Supreme Court justice who just decided a case on the lethal injection issue, Stevens comment was so irresponsible. If he feels that strongly, then why did he vote to uphold Kentucky's protocol. In addition, if he truly does believe that a horse received a less painful alternative way to die, he should specifically state why he believes that to be the case. My take is that his statement is based on his death penalty abolitionist views, and not on any science.

Posted by: justice seeker | May 12, 2008 9:05:38 AM

The real tragedy is that convicted murderers aren't executed as swiftly as injured horses. Less than ten minutes passed between the broken legs and the euthanasia.

Posted by: | May 12, 2008 5:09:03 PM

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