Federal Judge Rules Tenn. Death Penalty Unconstitutional

A federal judge in Tennessee has ruled the state's death penalty amounts to cruel and unusual punishment.

The protocol "presents a substantial risk of unnecessary pain" and violates inmate Edward Jerome Harbison's constitutional protections, U.S. District Judge Aleta Trauger said.

The new protocol, released in April, does not ensure that inmates are properly anesthetized before the lethal injection is administered, Trauger said, which could "result in a terrifying, excruciating death."

For more on how the current cocktail of drugs fails to assure a pain-free death see the Human Rights Watch Report, So Long as They Die and this article submitted to TalkLeft in 2004, You Wouldn't Do a Dog This Way.

For more news coverage of the opinion, see the Stand Down Texas Project.

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  • Display: Sort:
    simple solution (none / 0) (#1)
    by diogenes on Wed Sep 19, 2007 at 10:10:09 PM EST
    The simple solution is to use the cocktail used to put dogs to sleep, since millions of pet owners do not feel that this is cruel, inhumane, or unusual to euthanize their sick pets.

    Yeah, well, dogs... (none / 0) (#2)
    by 1980Ford on Wed Sep 19, 2007 at 11:43:58 PM EST
    Don't have the freedom of speech to complain much, do they? Indeed, usually when a dog barks, we tell him/her to hush and be a good dog.

    Cruel and Inhumane (none / 0) (#6)
    by nuQler ostrich on Thu Sep 20, 2007 at 07:22:09 AM EST
    Yeah, but if you're a college student who barks unpopular questions at a former Presidential candidate and Skull & Bonseman,



    Nope (none / 0) (#8)
    by jimakaPPJ on Thu Sep 20, 2007 at 08:16:57 AM EST
    Torture is getting women's panties put over your head.

    The simple solution (none / 0) (#10)
    by Al on Thu Sep 20, 2007 at 03:37:22 PM EST
    is for the state to stop killing people.

    "if 'tis to be done, (none / 0) (#3)
    by cpinva on Thu Sep 20, 2007 at 12:32:23 AM EST
    'tis best twere done quickly."

    .45 to the back of the head. the guillotine. messy yes, but certainly quick. most likely relatively pain free. how one can be certain is a mystery to me, since no one's returned to let us know.

    with respect to the terror, i think anyone who truly expects to remove that from the process is deluding themselves, absent rendering the condemned unconscious first.

    Although recent studies and a book of (none / 0) (#4)
    by oculus on Thu Sep 20, 2007 at 01:37:47 AM EST
    fiction entitled Severance indicate the brain continues functioning for about 75 seconds are the head is severed.  

    The obvious answer (none / 0) (#5)
    by Wile ECoyote on Thu Sep 20, 2007 at 05:36:06 AM EST
    is to use Dr. Pou's drug cocktail.  

    Right to Lifers (none / 0) (#7)
    by nuQler ostrich on Thu Sep 20, 2007 at 07:24:20 AM EST
    Right To Life anti-choicers will probably not appreciate this ruling.

    LOL (none / 0) (#9)
    by Wile ECoyote on Thu Sep 20, 2007 at 01:27:56 PM EST
    you sure you want to bring abortion into an execution discussion?

    cruel doctors? (none / 0) (#11)
    by diogenes on Thu Sep 20, 2007 at 03:42:03 PM EST
    Why not use the method prescribed by assisted suicide docs or third trimester abortion docs, since we're assured that there's no cruelity or pain in these situations.