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July 10, 2008

Three months after Baze, has anything really changed?

Back in May in this post, I asked "A month after Baze, has anything really changed?".  Two months later, this observation from that prior post still seems spot on: "it seems that all Baze really achieved was a brief national hiatus in executions and a new focal point for legal arguments in lethal injection litigation....  Looking back [now three months] after the Baze ruling, it is hard to see how the Supreme Court's decision to take up lethal injection protocols really advanced the capital ball much at all."

To be more specific, one can check out the execution data from the DPIC:  there have been ten executions over the last three months, nine of which were by lethal injection and all of which took place in those southern states that have traditionally executed the most offenders.  This list of upcoming executions shows the usual pattern of five to ten executions scheduled for each of the next few months, all concentrated in traditional execution states and most likely to be conducted by lethal injection.

Today, notably, two lethal injection executions are scheduled for today: one in Texas and one in Virginia.  But, beyond the usual local stories about the condemned and their crimes and the standard broader debate over the death penalty (such as this new anti-DP piece from notable New York activist and uni-brother), I do not see any continuing national discussion or debate about execution methods in general or about the pace of executions in particular.

July 10, 2008 at 08:48 AM | Permalink


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FYI, the Fourth Circuit has upheld Virginia's lethal injection protocol, 2-1:


Haven't had a chance to read it yet.

Posted by: JDB | Jul 10, 2008 2:57:44 PM

It must be kept in mind that Baze is not all that old of a decision. Litigation that was ongoing when Baze was decided (Delaware, Ohio, Tennessee, Feds and California) probably is going to take time to work itself out.

Additionally, I think we're seeing many states cautiously approach post-Baze executions. Florida, for example, has numerous killers at the end of the line, yet Gov. Crist only set one date. Same with Missouri, Arkansas and Alabama, and now, Ohio.

The other problem is that state law obstacles have been thrown up. North Carolina, which has numerous killers ready to be executed, has been tied up in some administrative procedures act nonsense. California too.

Baze has had some effect though. Executions that have been set have not been stayed due to claims that lethal injection is painful.

Posted by: federalist | Jul 12, 2008 9:04:06 AM

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