Supreme Court Upholds Kentucky Lethal Injection

Ruling clears way for other states to resume capital punishment
By Jonas Oransky,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 16, 2008 10:01 AM CDT
Attorney Donald Verrilli, who argued against the use of a three drug cocktail used to execute inmates.   (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
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(Newser) – By a vote of 7-2, the Supreme Court upheld today the use of lethal injection by a three-drug cocktail. Two death row inmates in Kentucky had charged that the method violated their Eighth Amendment right to be spared cruel and unusual punishment. The mix of drugs has been used in most US executions over the past three decades, Reuters reports.

Executions have been on hold since the high court took the case in September, the AP adds. The inmates argued that if the cocktail’s initial anesthetic fails, the process can cause excruciating pain. John Roberts’ opinion concljuded:  “Petitioners have not carried their burden of showing that the risk of pain from maladministration of a concededly humane lethal injection protocol … constitutes cruel and unusual punishment.”