No State Wants to Be First to Change Lethal Injection Method
All 36 states that use lethal injections for capital punishment administer a three-drug cocktail, despite the availability of a single drug likely to eliminate possible pain.
Experts told the New York Times that no state wants to be the first to change its lethal injection procedure to adopt the method currently used in animal euthanasia. The second chemical in the currently used three-drug cocktail paralyzes the inmate and prevents involuntary muscle contractions, but it also prevents him from crying out if the first chemical does not work to prevent pain.
Professor Deborah Denno of Fordham Law School said the states are reluctant to change because they perceive safety in numbers.
“If you change,” Denno said, “you’re admitting there was something wrong with the prior method. All those people you were executing, you could have been doing it in a better, more humane way.”