Supreme Court: Does lethal-injection drug amount to torture?

Photo by Ken Piorkowski via Flickr: Creative Commons

Today, the Supreme Court will be looking at three cases from Oklahoma where the state has been accused of cruel and unusual punishment for using a drug called midazolam in executions.

“Lawyers for the prisoners, with the support of many medical experts, say that even if properly administered, the drug cannot reliably cause deep unconsciousness before the injection of other extremely painful agents that cause death,” writes Erik Eckholm in The New York Times.

Last year, medical suppliers refused to sell drugs to Oklahoma for lethal injection. At first, that meant inmates like Clayton Lockett had their executions postponed, as The Colorado Independent wrote last year.

But then the state opted to use midazolam. During his execution, Lockett suffered for 43 minutes until death.

This will be the first time the court has looked at lethal injection since 2008.


Photo Credit: Ken Piorkowski, Lethal Injection Table from New Mexico, Creative Commons, Flickr