Conceptual and Scientific Defects in the Supreme Court’s 'Method of Execution' Jurisprudence

92 Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine 793-803, 2019

11 Pages Posted: 14 May 2020

See all articles by David R. Dow

David R. Dow

University of Houston Law Center

Date Written: 2019

Abstract

The Eighth Amendment to the US Constitution prohibits the infliction of cruel and unusual punishments. However, no method of executing prisoners has ever been deemed by the Supreme Court to constitute Cruel and Unusual Punishment. Constitutional challenges to the dominant mode of executing prisoners today – lethal injection – are hobbled by a lack of clinical data that would reveal the likelihood this method might inflict gratuitous pain. Here, we assess the contemporary Eighth Amendment jurisprudence, including its legal and scientific limitations, and suggest modifications.

Keywords: Eighth Amendment, Cruel and Unusual, Lethal Injection, BIS Monitoring

Suggested Citation

Dow, David R., Conceptual and Scientific Defects in the Supreme Court’s 'Method of Execution' Jurisprudence (2019). 92 Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine 793-803, 2019. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3580463

David R. Dow (Contact Author)

University of Houston Law Center ( email )

4604 Calhoun Road
Houston, TX 77204-6060
United States

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