SCOTUS Rules on Execution Drug Midazolam

Last week the Supreme Court ruled 5-to-4 in Glossip v. Gross against death row inmates who argued that the use of the drug midazolam in the lethal-injection procedure could violate the U.S. Constitution's ban on cruel and unusual punishment because it does not reliably leave inmates unconscious. 

The Glossip case came about after several botched executions across the country, most notably one in Oklahoma, where the state executed Clayton Lockett using midazolam for the first time. Lockett visibly showed discomfort and pain after being injected, He died 43 minutes later.

A few months after Lockett's execution, Oklahoma executed Charles Warner who was injected with the same lethal cocktail, who reportedly said as the first drug was being administered, "My body is on fire."

Justice Alito's majority opinion concluded that the plaintiffs, 3 Oklahoma death row inmates not only failed to identify an alternative method to midazolam, but failed to show evidence that the drug poses a severe risk of pain. 


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