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States to try new ways of executing prisoners. Their latest idea? Opioids.

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The synthetic painkiller fentanyl has been the driving force behind the nation’s opioid epidemic, killing tens of thousands of Americans last year in overdoses. Now two states want to use the drug’s powerful properties for a new purpose: to execute prisoners on death row.
As Nevada and Nebraska push for the country’s first fentanyl-assisted executions, doctors and death penalty opponents are fighting those plans. They have warned that such an untested use of fentanyl could lead to painful, botched executions, comparing the use of it and other new drugs proposed for lethal injection to human experimentation.
States are increasingly pressed for ways to carry out the death penalty because of problems obtaining the drugs they long have used, primarily because pharmaceutical companies are refusing to supply their drugs for executions.
The situation has led states such as Florida, Ohio and Oklahoma to turn to novel drug combinations for executions. Mississippi legalized nitrogen gas this s…

U.S. Supreme Court rejects Alabama's request to vacate Vernon Madison's stay of execution

Vernon Madison
Vernon Madison
BREAKING: U.S. Supreme Court in 4-4 vote rejects Alabama's request to vacate Vernon Madison's stay of execution, meaning that Mr. Madison will not be executed as scheduled tonight.

The United States Supreme Court has upheld a lower court's order staying the execution of Alabama death row inmate Vernon Madison.

This morning, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals postponed the execution, which was scheduled to take place today.

EJI lawyers asked the court to stay Mr. Madison's execution because he is incompetent to be executed. 

As a result of multiple strokes over the last year, and other serious medical conditions, Mr. Madison suffers from vascular dementia, which has left him unable to rationally understand why the State is seeking to execute him. 

Mr. Madison now speaks in a slurred manner, is legally blind, and can no longer walk independently as a consequence of damage to his brain.

It is unconstitutional to execute an individual who is mentally incompetent. The Eleventh Circuit ordered a stay so that it could properly consider the claim that his execution would violate the constitution.

The State of Alabama asked the Supreme Court to overturn the Eleventh Circuit's order, but the Court instead upheld the lower court's order.

Source: EJI, May 12, 2016

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