The Atlantic: Prof. Deborah Denno Calls Upcoming Nitrogen Hypoxia Execution “Potentially Dangerous” to Witnesses


Fordham Law Professor Deborah Denno, founding director of Fordham Law’s Neuroscience and Law Center, is quoted in an Atlantic article outlining Alabama’s upcoming nitrogen hypoxia execution experiment.

Although three states have laws permitting the use of nitrogen hypoxia, Alabama is the first to produce a (well-redacted) protocol for carrying it out. The document emerged in court filings last year, shedding some light on what Alabama intends to do. “Yet, at no time does Alabama ever state, step-by-step, how such a nitrogen hypoxia execution shall proceed,” Fordham University law professor Deborah Denno told me. “The reader only deduces the procedure that executioners will use by way of heavily redacted depictions of what will occur.” Denno pointed out that the protocol leaves unclear the hazards of nitrogen hypoxia to execution staff, the nature of safety equipment, the specific machinery and equipment, and the duties of correctional officials tasked with carrying out the execution. “​​What does become clear is that this system is potentially dangerous to executioners and witnesses and that definite steps must be followed to ensure no one is exposed to danger,” Denno said.

Read “Alabama Gets Ready for Its Gas-Execution Experiment” in The Atlantic.


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