Execution Delay

The U.S. Supreme Court is weighing in on lethal injection and the controversial three drug cocktail used in Tennessee and 35 other states. On Tuesday, the Supreme Court decided to consider the cases of two Kentucky inmates who are challenging the constitutionality of the three drug cocktail as cruel and unusual.

The decision to consider the case will likely halt executions in Tennessee until the Supreme Court rules. Most likely no ruling will come before January 2008 thus delaying the scheduled execution of Pervis Payne in December, as well as the executions of Paul Dennis Reid and E.J. Harbison in January.

The issue which the court will address is the constitutionality of the three drug cocktail, not the death penalty itself or the use of lethal injection as a method of execution. States across the country have been wrestling with these protocols, particularly after a botched execution by lethal injection in Florida in which Angel Diaz took 37 minutes to die and sustained severe burns on his arms.

TCASK hopes that the U.S. Supreme Court will finally address the issues with this cocktail that death penalty opponents have been highlighting for years. Regardless of what new protocols might arise from this ruling, the death penalty still asks the state to kill a human being. If we are going to have the death penalty in this country, I most certainly want it to be as humane as possible, but I don’t know how far we can go to sanitize a homicide. It is what it is.

However, TCASK is grateful for the breathing space this action may give us to continue our work to educate and organize citizens on the issue without the cloud of an execution hanging over us. All in all, what began as a potentially difficult week has taken a very hopeful turn.

Read more here.

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