USA Today – Supreme Court denies case on death penalty drugs

Richard Wolf and Gregg Zoroya, USA TODAY 11:45 a.m. EDT April 7, 2014

WASHINGTON — As states scramble to find drugs needed to carry out executions, the Supreme Court won’t decide for now whether condemned prisoners deserve to know how they will die.

The justices denied a hearing Monday to a Louisiana inmate who asked that state officials tell him what lethal-injection drugs they have planned for his demise.

The case would have put the court squarely at the center of a life-and-death debate over the constitutional rights of even the most depraved killers to be protected from cruel and unusual punishment.

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Bloomberg Opinion – Ban the Death Penalty

By The Editors Feb 23, 2014 9:11 PM ET

A grisly new consideration may start a necessary debate over capital punishment in the U.S., which is unique among advanced nations in its use of the death penalty. The distinction isn’t one to be proud of and should be brought to an end.

Since the 1980s, the use of lethal injection has made executions seem a little more clinical and a little less barbaric. But recently pharmaceutical companies have refused to supply some of the fatal drugs, and some executions have raised doubts that this way of killing is less cruel. Executioners are now preparing to rely on more traditional methods. Firing squads, gas chambers and electric chairs might make Americans queasier about the whole business, and willing to consider the issue afresh.


USA Today – Washington governor suspends death penalty

John Bacon, USA TODAY 1:29 a.m. EST February 12, 2014

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee on Tuesday announced a moratorium on the death penalty in the state, saying capital punishment was being used inconsistently and unequally.

The Democrat said his decision came after months of research on current cases and discussions with prosecutors, law enforcement officials and family members of homicide victims. He also said he toured death row and the execution chambers at Walla Walla State Penitentiary.

“Equal justice under the law is the state’s primary responsibility,” Inslee said. “I’m not convinced equal justice is being served.”

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