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For Execution Methods Challenges, the Road to Abolition is Paved with Paradox


Deborah W. Denno


Fordham University School of Law

March 30, 2009

THE ROAD TO ABOLITION, Charles J. Ogletree, Jr. & Austin Sarat , eds., New York University Press, pp. 183-214, 2009
Fordham Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 1370581

Abstract:     
The death penalty’s popularity has waned appreciably in recent years. Riding high on the momentum of this snowballing development are challenges to lethal injection under the Eighth Amendment’s Cruel and Unusual Punishments Clause. This Chapter contends that despite the contributions that lethal injection challenges, such as the 2008 Supreme Court case of Baze v. Rees, have made toward decreasing the number of executions in the United States, the oft-perceived link between execution methods litigation and the potential abolition of the death penalty is a double-edged sword. The presumed tie between successful lethal injection challenges and abolition can distract legislatures, courts, and prison personnel from examining the actual issue under consideration – the constitutionality of states’ execution protocols. While litigation over execution methods furthers abolitionist goals through the resultant decline in the number of executions, states continue to cling to troublesome execution methods in order to cloak the death penalty’s flaws.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 35

Keywords: sodium thiopental, pancuronium bromide, potassium chloride Section 1983, Morales v. Hickman, Morales v. Tilton, Taylor v. Crawford, Harbison v. Little, Rivera, Mata, Jeremy Fogel, Fernando J. Gaitan, Jr, Netherlands, voluntary euthanasia, P.V. Admiraal,, Alan Doerhoff, Mark Dershwitz, Mark Heath

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Date posted: April 5, 2009 ; Last revised: November 25, 2009

Suggested Citation

Denno, Deborah W., For Execution Methods Challenges, the Road to Abolition is Paved with Paradox (March 30, 2009). THE ROAD TO ABOLITION, Charles J. Ogletree, Jr. & Austin Sarat , eds., New York University Press, pp. 183-214, 2009; Fordham Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 1370581. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1370581

Contact Information

Deborah W. Denno (Contact Author)
Fordham University School of Law ( email )
140 West 62nd Street
New York, NY 10023
United States
212-636-6868 (Phone)
212-636-6899 (Fax)
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