I don’t have a concrete position on the death penalty, but this is bad. Really, really bad.
An Ohio man who was convicted of murder and sentenced to die has become the latest example of why the State should not have the power to impose death penalties. Dennis McGuire took over 20 agonizing minutes to die after being injected with a combination of drugs never before used for executions in the US. McGuire’s attorney Allen Bohnert labeled the incident “a failed, agonizing experiment.”
The Eighth Amendment of the US Constitution forbids cruel and unusual punishment. The family plans to sue the state of Ohio, and justifiably so. The methods of State execution have varied over US history, the Supreme Court has upheld the death penalty as not being in violation of the Eighth Amendment twice. The legal standard has been that methods of execution must not inflict “unnecessary pain.” Most recently, in the 2008 case Baze v. Rees, the court upheld lethal injection.
The specific lethal injection cocktail which was used in that Kentucky case was similar to those used in other states. In McGuire’s case, however, a new cocktail which was previously unused in the US was used. That being so, the Baze ruling should not have bearing on any cases stemming from the McGuire’s botched execution.