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May 30, 2006

Lethal injection litigation inspection

Professor Debby Denno, whose prior work on execution methods I praised here, today has this thoughtful essay in the National Law Journal, entitled "Lethal injection: Time to find alternatives."  Here is a snippet that provides a sense of the issues explored in the short piece:

A look at both lethal injection's procedure and substance in historical context shows that the more intriguing question about the success of lethal-injection challenges is not "Why now?," but rather "Why not earlier?"  Given that lethal injection was first enacted nearly 30 years ago, why is it only within the past year or so that constitutional challenges have made so much headway?

Among other virtues, Debby's piece reminded me to look for the oral argument transcript in Hill, which is now available at this link.  A quick read of that transcript leads me to one conclusion and one prediction: my conclusion is that the lethal injection mess needs to be, as I suggested here, addressed by legislatures as well as courts; my prediction is that the Court in Hill will say lethal injection protocol claims can be brought as a 1983 action but can be subject to a laches bar if the claim is not brought expeditiously.

On a related front, the Los Angeles Times has this piece reviewing the big cases still facing the Court this Term.  That piece speculates that the Court might issue a narrow ruling in Hill to avoid division among the Justices.

Some recent related posts:

May 30, 2006 at 07:32 AM | Permalink


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