Wednesday, April 16, 2008

 

The Supreme Court decides Baze, and upholds the three-drug lethal injection method


The decision is in, and the months-long effective moratorium on executions is now over. Here is the key blurb from Scotusblog (the masters of summarizing):

In a widely splintered decision, the Supreme Court cleared the way for executions to resume across the country, concluding that the most common method of lethal injection does not violate the Constitution. The final vote was 7-2 in Baze v. Rees, although there was no opinion that spoke for five or more Justices. The Court’s plurality adopted as a standard for assessing the validity of an execution method whether it poses a “substantial risk of serious harm.” It rejected the death row inmate’s proposal that the standard be “unnecessary risk.”

As you might have expected, I have previously discussed Baze here. The subject, in fact, is the topic of one chapter in my upcoming book, excerpts of which are available here.

For another take on this, check out the many posts by Doug Berman on the subject.

Comments:
Ugh . . it's probably obvious I oppose the death penalty . . . and it's highly sobering to see that this is the Court's limit, evidently, after a couple of decisions which limited the DP.

It makes me wonder what they'll do on the issue of the DP for the rape of a child. I heard Nina Totenberg's NPR story on it today. The case they're considering sounds like it has huge holes in it (like the police coercing the girl to change her story to point the finger at their suspect, her stepfather) but still, I wonder what they'll do with that issue.
 
This isn't related to the death penalty, bhut thought it would be of interest to PC students looking for something to put in their advocacy notebook.

http://www.law.com/jsp/tx/PubArticleTX.jsp?hubtype=TxCaseAlert&id=1208342620124
 
Good for the Supreme Court and good for America.

Now we can resume punishing people according to the current laws of this State. If you don't like the law, elect new legislators!
 
OK, anonymous person who is up in the middle of the night-- you are right on this one. Capital punishment is one of the few areas where real federalism still applies.
 
Correct me if I'm wrong (which I'm sure you will), but my understanding is that the Governor cannot act without the consent of the Board of Pardons and Paroles. Sorry, but I don't trust the administration of this school enough to reveal my name.
 
Anonymous--

I'm not a part of the administration here, but I don't think they care much one way or the other about your view on the death penalty.

However, those of us who teach here would have a problem with you making improper statements of the law. As I said on the other thread, my problem was with your statement that "In Texas the governor has very little control" over executions. The truth is that he has unilateral power to delay executions for 30 days, and can commute sentences of death with a recommendation to do so from the Board of Pardon and Parole-- a Board he appoints. That is something very different than having "very little control."
 
I really had high hopes for this case. Dang. 7-2, as well, and few opinions. I'm dumbfounded. After sending out signals that seemed to support attack on the death penalty, they could've at least discussed the issue for us.

I can't even bring myself to read it, yet. I'll wait until after my trial ends. It's going poorly, too, but at least it's only attempted capital murder.
 
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