Symposium: The Wonderland rules for method-of-execution claims

Steven D. Schwinn is an Associate Professor of Law at The John Marshall Law School in Chicago.
In early 2014, Oklahoma had a problem. The state planned to execute Clayton Lockett with a three-drug lethal injection cocktail, but its sources for its critical first drug dried up. The first drug, traditionally a barbiturate, is supposed to render a condemned sufficiently insensate so as not to feel the excruciating pain of the second and third drugs, which paralyze the body and induce cardiac arrest. Without the first drug, the second and third drugs would produce a level of pain that would violate the Eighth Amendment.
But states, including Oklahoma, had a harder and harder time getting an adequate first drug. That’s because suppliers refused to supply the traditional barbiturates for use in lethal injections, and the U.K. and European Commission

Original SCOTUS article

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