Six U.S. Execution Methods and the Disastrous Quest for Humaneness

Six U.S. Execution Methods and the Disastrous Quest for Humaneness, in THE ELGAR COMPANION TO CAPITAL PUNISHMENT AND SOCIETY. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar Publishing Ltd __ (Benjamin Fleury-Steiner & Austin Sarat, eds. 2024) (in press)

Fordham Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 4689058

26 Pages Posted: 9 Jan 2024 Last revised: 27 Feb 2024

Date Written: January 9, 2024

Abstract

This chapter examines the history and current status of the United States' six execution methods: hanging, firing squad, electrocution, lethal gas, lethal injection, and nitrogen hypoxia. While lethal injection remains the most common technique, inmates have continuously challenged injection's experimental and scientifically dubious procedures on the grounds they are inhumane and unconstitutional. Indeed, this country's ongoing transition from one technique to another—then back again—abounds with legislative, judicial, and correctional evidence detailing why each method failed so appreciably to become more civilized than the method superseded. This chapter concludes that every execution state's desire to ensure the death penalty's survival at any cost propels each execution method's celebrated introduction and disastrous perpetuation.

Suggested Citation

Denno, Deborah W., Six U.S. Execution Methods and the Disastrous Quest for Humaneness (January 9, 2024). Six U.S. Execution Methods and the Disastrous Quest for Humaneness, in THE ELGAR COMPANION TO CAPITAL PUNISHMENT AND SOCIETY. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar Publishing Ltd __ (Benjamin Fleury-Steiner & Austin Sarat, eds. 2024) (in press) , Fordham Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 4689058, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4689058

Deborah W. Denno (Contact Author)

Fordham University School of Law ( email )

Fordham University School of Law
150 West 62nd Street
New York, NY 10023
United States
212-636-6868 (Phone)
212-636-6899 (Fax)

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