8 New Botched Executions; Why Methods Must Change

Switch to Pills, or a Supreme Court Ruling May Stay Them All
WASHINGTON - Feb. 29, 2024 - PRLog -- In what is only the latest in a long string of unsuccessful botched attempts, Idaho was forced on Wednesday to halt the execution by lethal injection of Thomas Eugene Creech, after failing 8 times to find a suitable vein.

This, plus a long and sordid history of such shocking failures, and a recent Supreme Court ruling making it easier for condemned prisoners to challenge their method of execution, means that states must begin using a different method to avoid even more successful challenges and delays under this new legal standard, suggests public interest law professor John Banzhaf.

According to the high court's recent ruling on this matter, to successfully challenge a method of execution and obtain a stay, a prisoner need simply identify a readily available alternative method of execution that would significantly reduce the risk of severe pain.

Courts have permitted executions by lethal injection  to continue - although the "risk of harm" has now been so clearly identified - largely because they have not been squarely presented with a readily available alternative to lethal injections, electrocutions, firing squads, and now suffocation, explains Banzhaf.

In view of what just happened in Idaho and in many other lethal injection executions, and the shocking results of using asphyxiation in Alabama, the first requirement for challenging methods of execution - some risk (but not certainty) of severe pain - now seems to be more than met, suggests Banzhaf.

As to the second requirement necessary to challenge a method of execution, the law professor notes that there clearly exists a "readily available alternative method of execution" which would "significantly reduce the risk of severe pain."

The simple alternative, Banzhaf suggests, and an alternative to using suffocation or lethal injections for executions  - with the many legal and other challenges these method will now face in view of this botched execution - is putting the condemned on the pill.

In at least ten states (California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington) and in the District of Columbia, physicians are permitted to prescribe barbiturate pills so that terminally ill (and often old and frail) patients can achieve death with dignity without any pain or other suffering.

http://banzhaf.net/   jbanzhaf3ATgmail.com   @profbanzhaf

GW Law
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