Wednesday, April 16, 2008

U.S. Supreme Court Upholds Death Penalty

From the Associated Press:

The Supreme Court upheld Kentucky's use of lethal injection executions Wednesday, likely clearing the way to resume executions that have been on hold for nearly 8 months.

The justices, by a 7-2 vote, turned back a constitutional challenge to the procedures in place in Kentucky, which uses three drugs to sedate, paralyze and kill inmates. Similar methods are used by roughly three dozen states.

[The] opinion did leave open subsequent challenges to lethal injection practices if a state refused to adopt an alternative method that significantly reduced the risk of severe pain.

Executions have been on hold since September, when the court agreed to hear the Kentucky case. There was no immediate indication when they would resume.

The Court's decision will not affect New York State's death penalty law. That law was declared unconstitutional by the New York State Court of Appeals in 2004 on other grounds. Furthermore, it is unlikely at this time that this state will pass legislation to cure the flaw in the New York law.