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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 -…

Lack of drugs latest obstacle for Nevada death penalty; new death chamber under construction at a cost of $858,000

Ely State Prison, Nevada
Ely State Prison, Nevada
LAS VEGAS — Nevada officials face yet another obstacle in carrying out the death penalty if they needed to do so.

One of the two drugs that make up a cocktail in the lethal injection has expired, and the pharmaceutical company that produces it refuses on principle to give the state any more.

The lack of drugs is another hurdle for a state that hasn't had a working execution chamber since 2011. 

A new chamber is under construction in Ely at a cost of $858,000 and should be ready on Nov. 1.

There are 80 people on the state's death row, but none have exhausted their appeals. 

Nevada hasn't had an execution since 2006.

Officials with the Nevada Department of Corrections say they're putting out requests for companies willing to supply lethal injection drugs.

The availability of execution drugs has become an issue in many death penalty states. Texas, by far the nation's most active one, began using a compounding pharmacy as its source when traditional pharmaceutical makers refused to sell their products to prison agencies to be used for executions.

Source: The Associated Press, August 21, 2016


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