Essay On Lethal Injection

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The most common and considered the most humane method of execution used today is lethal injection. Lethal injection is the act of injecting a lethal drug “cocktail” directly into a person’s circulatory system.

In Baze v. Rees (2008), the Supreme Court reviewed the three-drug protocol then used for lethal injection by 30 states. The court ruled that the three-drug cocktail at issue in Baze did not violate an inmates Eighth Amendment prohibition against cruel and unusual punishments. This three-drug cocktail contained 1) sodium thiopental, a barbiturate used to induce a state of unconsciousness, 2) a paralytic agent to inhibit all muscular-skeletal movements, and 3) potassium chloride to induce cardiac arrest.

In response to this ruling, anti-death penalty advocates rallied to pressure the pharmaceutical companies who manufacture sodium thiopental and another commonly used drug, phenobarbital, to stop the production of these drugs for use by prisons for lethal injections. The lack of available drugs has forced states to search for alternative, comparable drugs as the first drug in the three-drug protocol. Recently, some states such as Ohio, Oklahoma, Florida, and Arizona have been forced to utilize midazolam, a benzodiazephine drug in place of the sodium thiopental.

Currently four states are utilizing the drug, midazolam, a
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In United States v. Jackson, the specific issue was whether a statute that imposed the death penalty was constitutional if only after a jury trial, because many defendants were pleading guilty to lesser charges and waiving their rights to jury trials in order to avoid the possibility of a death penalty sentence. The Court ruled that this practice was unconstitutional because it encouraged defendants to waive their Constitutional right to a jury trial to avoid a death penalty

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