Yesterday the US Supreme Court heard argument in this case, in which it is argued that lethal injection using a combination of sodium thiopental, pancuronium bromide, and potassium chloride is “cruel and unusual punishment”, contrary to the 8th Amendment to the US Constitution: the argument is, firstly, that the relevant test is whether a punishment involves an unnecessary risk of suffering (the Kentucky Supreme Court had applied a “substantial risk” test); and secondly, the fact that an alternative combination of chemicals could be used which would involve a lower risk of pain means that the risks currently involved in lethal injections in Kentucky must be unnecessary.

The questions before the Court, written briefs submitted in the case, and a transcript of yesterday’s argument, are all available here.

It’s excellent that this material’s so accessible: I hope when we have our own supreme court this side of the water, its proceedings will be as open as this.

2017-03-20T08:32:45+00:00Tags: , |