The U.S. Supreme Court this morning declined
to hear the appeal by Tennessee death row inmate Abu-Ali Abdur'Rahman. His lawyers were challenging the three-drug lethal injection procedure that critics say is cruel and unusual punishment because of the use of the paralyzing agent pancuronium bromide (aka Pavulon). The Court doesn't comment when it declines to accept a case, so no indication on why it didn't fly. It was thought to have a good shot because this is an issue percolating in several circuits. Lyle Dennison writing at SCOTUSblog
had this to say:
Abdur'Rahman v. Bredesen appeared to be a clear-cut test of that method, in a case with a full record and the lack of a last-minute challenge before an execution. The Court's denial was thus a clear signal that the Court is unprepared, for now at least, to review the claim that the particular drug protocol can result in severe pain to the individual being put to death.
An AP report
has Richard Dieter of the Death Penalty Information Center speculating that justices may want to wait until judges in several states finish hearings on the drug combinations that are used before accepting a case.
We're talking here about the use of a chemical as part of the execution of humans that is so objectionable that American Veterinary Medical Association guidelines reject its use in euthanizing animals. The state of Tennessee should cease and desist spending our tax dollars on legal battles defending this disgusting practice, and simply announce that it won't use the chemical. You'd think that's something on which death penalty advocates and opponents can agree.