Is Lethal Injection Unconstitutional?

Posted: June 14, 2015 by Nazim in Criminal Procedure

Spoiler Alert!  The answer is no.  However, that did not stop the Court from hearing Glossip v. Gross, a case that determines whether or not a drug that sedates death row inmates before death violates the 8th Amendment to the Constitution.  This episode talks about the likely ending to Glossip, along with a broader discussion about what the Supreme Court can really do when it comes to cases addressing the death penalty.

Internet-enhanced and unendorsed annotations:

  • Morrisey pandora is a great thing.
  • Artists make pennies off of every album purchase. PENNIES!
  • Skankin’Pickle is a ska band. Their logo is pictured below.
  • Repo records still exists somewhere.
  • “You can never go home!”
  • Cruel and unusual punishments are illegal in this country.
  • A prior episode was about how one gets to a death sentence.
  • Trust me, Brett is as animated and emphatic in person as he sounds on these podcasts.
  • In Baze v. Rees, the Supreme Court said it’s ok to kill people. That we… I mean, that our government kill people for us.
  • Botched executions have abounded recently.
  • Genuine question: how much effort should we put into being kind to those we are about to kill? Please answer in the comments with a dollar amount you would spend to be kinder to those we put to death.
  • In Oklahoma they use Midazolam to comify you before they kill you. It’s the first of a sequence of three drugs used in administering their death penalty. Oklahoma is near the center of our great country, in case you didn’t know.
  • Expert witnesses are mercenaries. No, really. You can get one to say almost anything.
  • A trial court’s factual findings are almost never overturned. Appellate courts deal mostly with purely legal issues, and rarely factual issues.
  • These guys will probably stay on death row. But there are two ancillary issues:
    • Abolitionists have managed to make lethal injection drugs difficult to obtain, so while the law may allow them, the practice may be that they’re impossible to administer.
    • Is there a notion of spectator fairness to the 8th amendment? Do we have a problem with killing someone horrifically if they can’t feel it? I think many, if not most, people do. But we not certain we understand it.
  • Death penalty law has changed a lot in the past couple of decades.
Skankin' Pickle logo, from

Skankin’ Pickle logo, from


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