Even as law enforcement tries to reduce the number of deaths attributed to the super-opioid fentanyl, some states are trying to increase them through their use for capital punishment. But it raises the same Constitutional questions posed by other methods of state execution regarding “cruel and unusual punishment,” says TCR’s columnist on drug issues.
Heather Beaudoin, leader of a conservative group fighting to end capital punishment, found new support for her cause at this month’s annual CPAC gathering of Republican activists. In a conversation with TCR, she reports a growing willingness among conservatives to embrace justice reform.
An execution was called off in the state on Wednesday when medical personnel were unable to find suitable veins on the 69-year-old condemned man. A spokesman for the governor said the failed execution does not indicate a need for new protocols.
Yesterday, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the highest-profile death penalty challenge in seven years, and the justices will began to consider this question: Does Oklahoma's use of the common surgical sedative midazolam fail to make prisoners unconscious during lethal injections, thus violating the Eighth Amendment's protection against “cruel and unusual punishment”? For many court watchers, however, a subject of special scrutiny is the credibility of Oklahoma’s key expert witness, Dr. Roswell Lee Evans, who has testified that inmates […]