Supreme Court Review-Preview-Overview

An up-to-date outline of Supreme Court criminal cases
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Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Baze v. Rees: Lethal Injection Cocktail Constitutional

In a fractured opinion, a plurality of the Court held that the Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution does not prohibit the most common method of lethal injection, involving a three-drug cocktail, sodium thiopental, pancuronium bromide, and potassium chloride. Although the final tally of concurrences provided a 7-2 vote, 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 of pain and suffering."