Constitutional Law

For 2nd Time in a Week, Supremes Stay Execution; Inmate Claims Innocence, Argues Lethal Drug Choice

For the second time in a week, the U.S. Supreme Court has stayed an imminent execution to give the defendant’s counsel more time to pursue an appeal.

Today it was Cleve Foster who won a reprieve approximately eight hours before he was to be given a lethal injection in Texas, CNN reports. Foster, 47, also came close to death in January, when he was given his last meal before his scheduled execution was halted.

Earlier this week, the court stayed the execution of Daniel Wayne Cook the night before he was to be put to death in Arizona.

Both men claim ineffective assistance of counsel prevented them from arguing their innocence. They also contend that a planned new execution drug, pentobarbital, is neither appropriate nor the subject of adequate protocols. Although used to euthanize animals, it reportedly has not been routinely used in human anesthesia for decades.

Sodium thiopental, a drug ordinarily used in executions as part of a lethal drug cocktail, is in short supply, requiring states to find alternatives if they are going to apply the death penalty.

Hat tip: This Just In.

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