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Capital Punishment in the United States Explained

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In our Explainer series, Fair Punishment Project lawyers help unpackage some of the most complicated issues in the criminal justice system. We break down the problems behind the headlines - like bail, civil asset forfeiture, or the Brady doctrine - so that everyone can understand them. Wherever possible, we try to utilize the stories of those affected by the criminal justice system to show how these laws and principles should work, and how they often fail. We will update our Explainers monthly to keep them current. Read our updated explainer here.
To beat the clock on the expiration of its lethal injection drug supply, this past April, Arkansas tried to execute 8 men over 1 days. The stories told in frantic legal filings and clemency petitions revealed a deeply disturbing picture. Ledell Lee may have had an intellectual disability that rendered him constitutionally ineligible for the death penalty, but he had a spate of bad lawyers who failed to timely present evidence of this claim -…

Pfizer Ban on Execution Drugs Won't Impede Death Penalty in Indiana

State's death row inmates still have years of appeals ahead; state has said it has stockpile of needed chemicals

The world's largest pharmaceutical company is blocking the use of its drugs for executions. But it's unclear how that will affect Indiana.

Pfizer was the last FDA-approved drugmaker which still sold the chemicals used for lethal injection. That's the only execution method allowed by Indiana law -- it would take legislative action to bring back the electric chair or some other method.

But Indiana said 2 years ago it had a stockpile of execution drugs, and the state hasn't executed anyone since. 

The Department of Correction said then it had even assisted other states who were having difficulty as the market tightened.

Some states have turned to less-regulated compounding pharmacies, or tried to import drugs from overseas.

Senate Corrections and Criminal Law Chairman Mike Young (R-Indianapolis) says at some point, legislators should probably authorize an alternate method. He says no one anticipated supply-chain problems when the state switched to lethal injection in 1995. But he says there's no rush. None of the 12 killers on Indiana's death row is anywhere close to an execution date -- only 2 have progressed as far as a federal appeals court. And Young says any attempt to tweak the law would likely trigger a fierce debate over whether Indiana should abolish the death penalty entirely.

Indiana hasn't executed anyone since 2009, when Matthew Wrinkles of Evansville was put to death for the murders of his wife and 2 of his in-laws.

Source: WIBC news, May 17, 2016

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