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Execution offers evidence against lethal injection

OWoN: This is NOT in Gods name or wish list.

image: AP

Mail Online
By AP
25 July 2014

ST. LOUIS (AP) — The nation's third botched execution in six months offers more evidence for the courts that lethal injection carries too many risks and amounts to cruel and unusual punishment, death-row lawyers and other opponents said Thursday.

Death-penalty opponents say an Arizona inmate who gasped for breath for more than 90 minutes showed that executions using different drugs and dosages are a callous trial-and-error process. The result: Every few months, a prisoner gasps, chokes and takes an unusually long time to die.

"These executions are experiments on human subjects," said Cheryl Pilate, an attorney for several Missouri death-row inmates. "The potential for things to go wrong is almost unlimited."

Lethal injection has been challenged in the courts many times, mostly without success. The biggest recent obstacle for death-penalty states has been obtaining lethal chemicals after major drugmakers stopped selling drugs for use in executions. That forced states to find alternative drugs.

The drugs are mostly purchased from loosely regulated compounding pharmacies. Arizona, Texas, Florida and Missouri refuse to name the supplier and offer no details about how the drugs are tested or how executioners are trained.

The Supreme Court will probably face increasing pressure to examine how American executions are carried out, said Deborah Denno, a Fordham University School of Law death penalty expert.

"Every time this happens, it makes it far more difficult for a state corrections department to justify using a drug such as midazolam that's so consistently problematic, and to justify the secrecy," Denno said.

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