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America's Secret Death Penalty Drugs

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Governments have gone to great effort to keep the sources and methods of their death penalty regimes secret.
In November, the Omaha World-Herald sent a simple records request to the Nebraska state government. Along with several other news outlets, the paper wanted to know the source of the drugs to be used in an upcoming execution—the first in the state in more than 20 years.
In the past the Nebraska Department of Corrections would have provided this information, but now it refused. Officials there insisted that the supplier of the drugs the state intended to use, in the name of its citizens, to sedate, paralyze, and stop the beating heart of an inmate were exempt from Nebraska's public record law.
In December the Nebraska chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) sued to challenge the denial.
Nebraska is just the latest state to decide the executioner's black hood of anonymity also covers the pharmacies that mix the deadly compounds used to kill prisoners. As letha…

Dylann Roof challenges federal death penalty law as unconstitutional

Dylann Roof
Dylann Roof
Lawyers for Dylann Roof, the accused Charleston church shooter, filed a motion to challenge the constitutionality of the federal death penalty Monday.

Roof's lawyers argue that "the federal death penalty constitutes a legally prohibited, arbitrary, cruel and unusual punishment prohibited by both the Fifth and Eighth Amendments."

They continue to argue that the death penalty itself is unconstitutional in addition to the federal law:

The Federal Death Penalty Act "may have been designed with as much care as possible under the circumstances, the capital sentencing process that the statute provides is constitutionally inadequate in practice. The results of jurors' good-faith grappling with the law - arbitrary, biased, and erroneous death verdicts - are intolerable as a matter of due process and proportional punishment."

Roof faces 33 federal counts, including hate crimes, in the shooting deaths of nine black parishioners during a Bible study. 

His penalty trial is set to begin in November.

The challenge is being brought because the federal government is seeking the death penalty in the case after rejecting Roof's offer to plead guilty and accept multiple sentences of life in prison without the opportunity for parole, Buzzfeed reports.

Sources: The Dallas Morning News, Hannah Wise; The Associated Press, August 1, 2016

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