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Execution Notes

Earlier today, both Bill and the News Scan noted the executions in Missouri and Georgia.  All of the coverage emphasized these being the first since the "botched" Oklahoma execution, as if that were a major event that somehow changed things.  It was not.  In that case, they failed to insert the needle correctly and failed to check that it was correct.  Those have been known dangers all along.  Nothing was different after that event than it was before.

The Supreme Court orders denying stays in the Georgia case are here, here, and here.  No dissents are noted.

The orders denying stays in the Missouri case are here, here, here, and here.  Of these, only the third has any dissent indicated.  "Justice Sotomayor would grant the application for stay of execution."  The Missouri AG's office has provided the application and opposition for the one with the dissent.  The issues presented are:

1. Must a death row inmate propose a specific, feasible. more humane alternative method of execution in order to plead a viable Eighth Amendment claim?

2. Is the standard for an Eighth Amendment claim literally that the method is "sure or very likely" to cause unnecessary pain? Or does that really only mean the method presents a substantial risk of serious pain, which the plaintiffs allege is a lesser standard?
Given that only one Justice openly dissented on denial of a stay on this application and none did on the other applications, any notion that there are going to be stays granted on broadly applicable questions on method of execution is refuted.

Moments ago, the Supreme Court posted this denial of a stay of the Florida execution of John Henry.
AP reports:

The justices Wednesday evening turned down an appeal for 63-year-old John Ruthell Henry. The Tampa-area man is scheduled to be given a lethal injection later Wednesday. The court rejected Henry's argument that he may be too mentally incompetent for execution.

Henry was convicted of fatally stabbing Suzanne Henry at her home and then killing her 5-year-old son, whose body was found in a neighboring county. Henry had been paroled two years earlier after serving time for the slaying of his previous wife.

Update:  An AP story at 7:47 EDT says, "STARKE, Fla. (AP) -- Florida executes man who killed wife, her 5-year-old son in 1985; 3rd US execution in 24 hours."


Hello Kent,

I see that you also contribute to the cncpunishment forum. I agree with your points about the eighth amendment, but I had a legitimate question about the Lockett execution that I have not found an answer for.

His lawyer said he was a muscular, veiny armed man, so why apply the IV in the groin? I realize the fact that he had to be tased, possibly twice, may have complicated the situation, but I have not seen or heard any evidence to corroborate that.

I am pro CP, but I am not a barbarian, and I tend to get treated almost as an abolitionist on other sites. Any insight you may have is appreciated.

Thank You,


Further info on the Oklahoma execution is available here.

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