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Sixth Split on Lethal Injection Challenge:

Yesterday six judges on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit dissented from the full court's denial of a petition for en banc rehearing in Cooey v. Strickland, in which a divided panel concluded that the statute of limitations had run on a death-row inmate's Section 1983 challenge to the constitutionality of Ohio's lethal injection protocol. Judge Gilman, who dissented from the initial panel, wrote the brief dissent, joined by Judges Martin, Daughtrey, Moore, Cole and Clay.

Sentencing Law & Policy and the Ohio Death Penalty Information blog have more on the decision.

Maureen001 (mail):
While this dissention goes to the question of appropriate timing for filing a lethal injection protest, the larger question of lethal injection as "cruel and unusual" looms behind it, with the even larger death penalty, right or wrong? spectre sloating behind it.

Pain that is alleged to be felt from the condemned receiving the injections must be due to potassium chloride, which is used to stop the heart. It is known to burn like a SOB in the veins when given improperly diluted, meaning, in this sense, in nonlethal strength since patients have survived and reported the sensation. I wonder if there might be some other drug that could be used to achieve the same effect without the potentially painful side effect of potassium chloride?

Any cardiologists out there?

I reject the argument that the use of needles constitutes "cruel and unusual". The use of needles to administer medications is commonplace.
6.2.2007 5:02pm
jb9054 (mail):
Not a cardiologist, but I am a surgeon-MD, and I can tell you to a reasonable degree of medical certainty (actually beyond a reasonable doubt) that the whole argument that execution as currently practiced is cruel/unusual is horsehockey. You think KCl in the veins hurts? It sure does, but compared to having your uterus/colon/pancreas removed, hip joint replaced, &c. &c., it's nothing, and I and my colleagues do this every day all over the world, and nary a complaint. We have the technology to ensure it's painless- it's called anesthesia. Why not get anesthesiologists (MDs) or anesthetists (RNs) to solve this problem? The ivory tower geniuses who are appointed to our professional societies and state medical boards frown on such activity. In my state, the medical board has stated that any MD who participates in an execution will find his license in jeopardy. I wish I were brave enough to remind those clowns esteemed colleagues that our profession exists at the sufferance of the state- anyone who does not have the state license that I have been granted who does what I do every day- take knife to living human flesh- would be imprisoned for battery. I certainly do not believe that any doc or nurse should be compelled to participate in an execution, but those of us who do should be able to assist in doing what our elected legislatures have voted for without fearing for our careers.

The only reason that KCl is used anyway is for convenience. A large dose of narcotic and/or barbiturate would render the person unconscious within seconds (literally), but the electrical activity of the heart could go on for a long time. It would be awkward to have to hang around for an hour or so until that stops. The KCl stops it quickly.
6.2.2007 5:50pm
Ryan Waxx (mail):
Maybe it's time to start demanding that people who condemn a particular method of execution provide a sensible, workable alternative method. That way, you filter out the jokers who are using 'not this method' as a dishonest way of eliminating the death penalty though the courts rather than the legislature.
6.3.2007 1:30am