The Supreme Court on Friday agreed to review Oklahoma’s controversial method of execution by lethal injection, taking up a case brought by three death row inmates who accuse the state of violating the U.S. Constitution’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment.
Medazolam and lethal injection
The inmates challenging the state’s procedures argue that the sedative used by Oklahoma, midazolam, cannot achieve the level of unconsciousness required for surgery, making it unsuitable for executions.
The case draws fresh attention to the ongoing debate over whether the death penalty should continue to be used in the United States at a time when most developed countries have abandoned it.
The Death Penalty Information Center, which compiles execution statistics, says only seven of the 32 states that still have the death penalty on the books executed inmates in 2014, with most coming in just three states: Texas, Missouri and Florida. The group also says the number of executed inmates has fallen to a 20-year low.
The Supreme Court case directly affects only Oklahoma. But Florida uses a similar protocol so death row inmates there may seek stays based on the pending case.
On Jan. 15, the high court on a 5-4 vote declined to halt Oklahoma’s execution of Charles Warner, convicted of raping and murdering an 11-month-old baby.
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[Ventura County, California criminal defense lawyer and State Bar Certified Criminal Law Specialist Jay Leiderman provides defense of cases involving oppression leveled against activists and hacktivists. He does all types of cases involving the digital revolution, civil rights, political dissent, emerging tech issues in the courts, piracy, Search and seizure issues, freedom on the internet, fighting against unjust systems, governmental and prosecutorial overreach, medical marijuana, and overall injustice. Jay fights for the underdog. Jay is a lifetime member of the NORML Legal Committee. Jay is pro-privacy for hte individual and believes in transparency for hte state and large corporations. He is also a member of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL), The National Lawyer’s Guild (NLG), The California Public Defender’s Association (CPDA) and is also a lifetime member of California Attorneys for Criminal Justice (CACJ). He is admitted to practice in state and federal courts.]