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Lethal injection case challenges procedure.

On April 28, the Supreme Court heard a Florida death penalty case regarding the lethal injection procedure. According to The Washington Post, the justices must decide if the assertions of cruel and unusual punishment by inmate Clarence E. Hill can be treated as a federal civil rights lawsuit, as Hill argues, or a petition for habeas corpus, as Florida argues. At this point there are congressional restrictions on inmates' rights to challenge their imprisonment, (habeas corpus), but none on civil rights suits.

If the court favors Hill, inmates could start time-consuming litigation on the particulars of lethal injection, each time there are changes to procedure, which could deter states form seeking to make the procedure less painful, said Justice Anthony M. Kennedy. If the court favors Florida, proving that Hill is just acting to postpone or evade death, his case could be dismissed as just another habeas corpus petition.

Lethal injection becomes cruel and unusual when the first of the three drugs, an anesthetic, does not make the inmate unconscious. The second drug, which paralyzes the inmate, could prevent any visual signs of pain caused by the heart-stopping third drug.
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Author:Leone, Lisa
Publication:Corrections Compendium
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1U5FL
Date:May 1, 2006
Words:190
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