Supreme Court Rejects Challenge to Federal Executions by Lethal Injection

Death Penalty Syringe

This week, the Supreme Court turned away a major challenge to the federal government's lethal injection protocol. This paves the way for four executions to be carried out beginning in mid-July, after a nearly two-decade lapse.

In 2019, the federal government adopted a new lethal injection protocol consisting of a single drug, pentobarbital. A district judge then blocked the executions from going forward, noting that the pentobarbital protocol conflicts with the Federal Death Penalty Act, which requires adherence to a state's method of execution. The judge ruled a delay would not hurt the government, particularly because it had waited several years to announce a new protocol.

Lawyers for the inmates noted that their cases have presented other legal challenges as well that have not been decided, but the Supreme Court decision not to review the protocol removes a major obstacle to the resumption of federal executions.

July 7, 2020 - 6:17am

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