Supreme Court takes close, contested look at lethal injection drug

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May 1, 2015

Supreme Court tosses out Florida's strict definition of mental disabilities in death penalty case. Court says a state must use more than an IQ test to determine if a death-row inmate can be exempt from execution. (CNS file photo) (May 28, 2014) See SCOTUS-FLORIDA May 28, 2014.

(CNS file photo)

WASHINGTON (CNS) — Exactly one year after a botched execution in Oklahoma, the Supreme Court took a close look at the effectiveness of a specific drug used in the state’s lethal injections to determine whether it constitutes cruel and unusual punishment.

The April 29 oral arguments were at times bogged down by medical details and at other times were argumentative about the drug in question and the death penalty in general.

The case, Glossip v. Gross, was presented by lawyers for three Oklahoma death-row inmates claiming the drug midazolam, the first drug administered in the state’s three-part lethal injection process, does not effectively put inmates into a coma-like state that prevents them from feeling pain.

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