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April 16, 2008

Now that Baze is out, when and where will there be the first "new" execution?

Before even having a chance to consume the nearly 100-page Baze lethal injection ruling from SCOTUS today, the basic outcome has me now wondering which state will be the first to get its execution chamber up and running again and when the current de facto moratorium on executions will be officially ended.

The easy guess is that Texas will be the first to have a post-Baze execution, but I might put money on the possibility that some other state will beat Texas to the death punch.  And, though I suspect we may see an execution before the end of the month, I would not be surprised at all if death penalty abolitionists find aspects of the Baze ruling that enable them to bring further challenges to execution protocols.

Insights and predictions on post-Baze realities are both welcome and encouraged in the comments.

Some related posts on Baze-ian execution realities:

April 16, 2008 at 10:31 AM | Permalink


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It's hard to know who will be first. Different states have different methods for setting executions--some require state trial judges to do so; others require the governor etc. In Texas, the state trial judge does so, so that may be the quickest.

My guess is that a lot of the lethal injection nonsense is going to go away after this decision. Judge Frost, in Ohio, and Judge Fogel, in California, I suspect will not let go of their cases without a fight.

Posted by: federalist | Apr 16, 2008 10:44:58 AM

Will there be an outpouring of orgasmic joy as states finally get to kill people again?

Will people say, “We are happiest knowing that behind the closed doors of the prison a state employee gets to execute someone... a pleasure that we have been denied for months and a denial that no human should have to endure?”

The answer is yes. Americans will rejoice in the knowledge that once again the state can kill people. (And the actual killing process will be shielded from the democratic process, because people don’t want the voters to actually pass on anything remotely practical or even to view what it looks like when some state employee kill someone.)

Posted by: S.cotus | Apr 16, 2008 12:38:53 PM

Ah, S.cotus-dude, your dream of having executions televised is becoming an "evolving standard"


I, for one, think we should bring back public hangings and they should take place at the local law schools.

I guess we all need dreams.

Posted by: | Apr 16, 2008 12:44:56 PM

Thanks for the link. I will post it to my blog.

I don't know if they should be at law schools (since lawyers will probably have the best access to the killing rituals of states), or rather at elementary schools so that kids can grow up watching people die at the hand of the state and make a truly informed decision when they become voters.

Posted by: S.cotus | Apr 16, 2008 12:52:27 PM

I hope S.cotus will count me in as one of those Americans who will rejoice in the knowledge that states will be inflicting a penalty which is proportionate to the crime, imposed by a jury, extensively reviewed by a lengthy appellate process averaging 10 years, is perfectly consistent with the original intent of the Framers, and is consistent with the democratic will of the overwhelming majority of the people of the country.

Posted by: realist | Apr 16, 2008 12:53:11 PM

Long time lurker here...but I have to comment on this one. Alabama will be the first. We haven't even stopped scheduling executions since the "moratorium."

Posted by: Talithajd | Apr 16, 2008 1:14:46 PM


Alabama, South Carolina or Kentucky will be first. The way their state death schemes are designed they can set a date in less than 30 days. In Texas you need 30 days from warrant to execution.

Posted by: karl | Apr 16, 2008 4:44:26 PM

Karl, what about Georgia and Florida?

Oklahoma will be at least 60 days out.

Posted by: federalist | Apr 16, 2008 5:12:15 PM

I'm not familiar enough with the warrant process in Georgia & Florida to hazard a guess.

Posted by: karl | Apr 16, 2008 5:47:36 PM

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