Deciding if Inmates Get to Know How They’ll Be Executed


Deborah Denno comments in the New York Times about a capital justice system is in turmoil, with drug shortages leading states to use secret and suspect chemicals to execute condemned inmates.

“We’ve never seen so many changes and so many troubles in getting these drugs,” said Deborah Denno, a law professor at Fordham and a leading authority on methods of execution. “The states are more secret than they’ve ever been. And it’s a much riskier process than it’s ever been.”

Professor Denno said the problems are authentic. “It’s not just a ruse created by abolitionists,” she said.

The state’s argument is plausible, partly because the decision is tough to understand. “Baze was so splintered that none of its seven opinions garnered more than three votes,” Professor Denno noted in an article called “Lethal Injection Chaos Post-Baze,” which is to be published in May in The Georgetown Law Journal.

“We have a method,” she said. “It’s the firing squad. It’s the only method where we have people who are trained to kill that way.”

Read the entire New York Times article.


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