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Court Upholds Lethal Injections

6 Pages Posted: 16 May 2008 Last revised: 30 Jun 2013

Craig Bradley

Indiana University Maurer School of Law

Date Written: 2008


In this article I discuss in detail the Court's holding in Baze v. Rees (dec. 4/16/08) in which the Court upheld, by a vote of 7-2, the use of Kentucky's lethal injection protocol in imposing the death penalty. Chief Justice Roberts' plurality opinion could only garner 3 votes (including his own) and the article explains why this was the case. It also discusses the plurality's conclusion as to why Kentucky's protocol is acceptable, indeed desirable, compared to the alternatives. Finally it recognizes the fundamental basis for the decision: If, as conceded, the death penalty is constitutionally allowed, then there must be some way of carrying it out. The petitioner's were unable to satisfy a majority of the Court that any other alternative was significantly better.

Keywords: Criminal Law, Death Penalty, 8th Amendment, Lethal Injection

Suggested Citation

Bradley, Craig, Court Upholds Lethal Injections (2008). Trial Magazine, June 2008; Indiana Legal Studies Research Paper No. 107. Available at SSRN:

Craig Bradley (Contact Author)

Indiana University Maurer School of Law ( email )

211 S. Indiana Avenue
Bloomington, IN 47405
United States

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