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September 25, 2009

"Other states watching Arkansas lethal injection case"

The title of this post is the headline of this AP article discussing arguments yesterday in the Eighth Circuit.  Here is how it starts:

An attorney for four Arkansas death row inmates who are challenging the state's lethal injection procedure told a federal appeals court panel Thursday that even with new methods in place, the process can cause pain and suffering.

A three-judge panel of the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals heard the case filed on behalf of convicted killers Don William Davis, Jack Harold Jones Jr., Terrick Nooner and Frank Williams Jr.

Other death penalty states are watching the outcome, which isn't expected for several weeks. In fact, an attorney for Missouri death row inmate Reginald Clemons was in court to observe. The issue also drew attention earlier this month after a failed attempt to execute an inmate in Ohio.

Lethal injection had been on hold across the country until a Supreme Court ruling last year in a case out of Kentucky about whether the three-drug combination used in executions causes unconstitutional pain and suffering. Roughly three dozen states use the combination — an anesthetic, a muscle paralyzer and a substance to stop the heart.

After that ruling, Arkansas prison officials introduced new procedures. Joe Cordi of the Arkansas Attorney General's office told the panel the new protocol is thorough in trying to ensure that the inmate doesn't suffer. But the attorney for the inmates, Scott Braden, said concerns remain both about the written procedures and how they would be carried out, especially because Arkansas has a history of botched executions.

Seom recent related posts on lethal injection litigation:

September 25, 2009 at 11:26 AM | Permalink

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