Tommy Lynn Sells was executed Thursday night using a lethal injection drug whose source was not disclosed. Sells’ lawyers have argued that without knowledge about the source of the drug, they cannot verify whether it will lead to a cruel and unusual execution that violates the Constitution.
On Wednesday, a federal district judge ruled that the execution could not go forward until the state revealed the source of the drug so that Sells’ lawyers could verify that it would not impose cruel and unusual treatment. But a federal appeals court quickly overturned that ruling, and the U.S. Supreme Court declined to intervene late Thursday.
It would be best to abolish lethal injection altogether.
Gregg v. Georgia, Proffitt v. Florida, Jurek v. Texas, Woodson v. North Carolina, and Roberts v. Louisiana, 428 U.S. 153 (1976), reaffirmed the United States Supreme Court’s acceptance of the use of the death penalty in the United States, upholding, in particular, the death sentence imposed on Troy Leon Gregg. Referred to by a leading scholar as the July 2 Cases and elsewhere referred to by the lead case Gregg, the Supreme Court set forth the two main features that capital sentencing procedures must employ in order to comply with the Eighth Amendment ban on “cruel and unusual punishments.” The decision essentially ended the de facto moratorium on the death penalty imposed by the Court in its 1972 decision in Furman v. Georgia 408 U.S. 238 (1972).
Global abolition of the death penalty now!
Yes, it’s long past time we did away with state-sponsored murder.