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Will the Supreme Court Kill The Death Penalty This Term?

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Will the U.S. Supreme Court add the fate of the death penalty to a term already fraught with hot-button issues like partisan gerrymandering, warrantless surveillance, and a host of contentious First Amendment disputes?
That’s the hope of an ambitious Supreme Court petition seeking to abolish the ultimate punishment. But it runs headlong into the fact that only two justices have squarely called for a reexamination of the death penalty’s constitutionality.
Abel Hidalgo challenges Arizona’s capital punishment system—which sweeps too broadly, he says, because the state’s “aggravating factors” make 99 percent of first-degree murderers death-eligible—as well as the death penalty itself, arguing it’s cruel and unusual punishment.
He’s represented by former acting U.S. Solicitor General Neal Katyal—among the most successful Supreme Court practitioners last term. Hidalgo also has the support of several outside groups who filed amicus briefs on his behalf, notably one from a group including Ari…

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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