Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Supreme Court upholds use of lethal injections

Go to Oklahoman original
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Supreme Court upheld the most common method of lethal injections executions Wednesday, clearing the way for states to resume executions that have been on hold for nearly 7 months.

The justices, by a 7-2 vote, turned back a constitutional challenge to the procedures in place in Kentucky, which uses three drugs to sedate, paralyze and kill inmates. Similar methods are used by roughly three dozen states.

The governor of Virginia lifted his state's moratorium on executions two hours after the high court issued its ruling.

"We ... agree that petitioners have not carried their burden of showing that the risk of pain from maladministration of a concededly humane lethal injection protocol, and the failure to adopt untried and untested alternatives, constitute cruel and unusual punishment," Chief Justice John Roberts said in an opinion that garnered only three votes. Four other justices, however, agreed with the outcome.

Roberts' opinion did leave open subsequent challenges to lethal injection practices if a state refused to adopt an alternative method that significantly reduced the risk of severe pain.


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