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Supreme Court rejects death penalty appeals after lethal injection ruling

[JURIST] The US Supreme Court [official website; JURIST news archive] Monday denied [order list, PDF] without comment petitions for certiorari filed by 10 death row inmates seeking to have their executions blocked. Last Wednesday, the Supreme Court ruled [JURIST report] that lethal injection [JURIST news archive] does not violate the Eighth Amendment's prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment. Three of the inmates whose petitions were denied Monday were previously granted last minute stays of execution, including Earl Wesley Berry and Carlton Turner, Jr. [JURIST reports]. The petitioners may soon be executed as their stays of execution terminated automatically when their appeals for certiorari were denied. AP has more.

Last week's Supreme Court ruling came in Baze v. Rees [Duke Law case backgrounder; JURIST report], where lawyers for Kentucky death row inmate Ralph Baze argued that the three-drug lethal injection cocktail [DPIC backgrounder] used in most states violates the US Constitution because the first drug administered can fail to make the subject fully unconscious, thereby making the subject suffer excruciating pain when the heart-stopping drug is injected. Also last Wednesday, several US states, including Virginia and Oklahoma, announced that they would resume executions by lethal injection [JURIST report] after the Supreme Court's decision.

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