Federal judge rejects challenge to Georgia lethal injection protocol

[JURIST] US District Judge Beverly Martin on Wednesday rejected a challenge to Georgia's lethal injection protocol, ruling that the state's execution procedures were similar to Kentucky's method, determined by the Supreme Court to be constitutional [JURIST report]. Convicted murderer Jack Alderman had argued that the Georgia's lethal injection protocol is unconstitutional as it creates a substantial risk of pain, but Martin issued a ruling from the bench that Alderman's lawyers did not show that Georgia's methods allowed a higher risk of pain than that allowed last month in the Supreme Court's ruling in Baze v. Rees. Alderman's execution, originally scheduled to take place in October, was stayed [JURIST report] last year by the Georgia Supreme Court pending the outcome of the Supreme Court case. Another Georgia inmate, William Earl Lynd, is scheduled to be executed [JURIST report] on May 6. If the execution takes place as planned, it will be the first execution since the Supreme Court's ruling. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has more.

In September 2007, the Supreme Court granted certiorari in Baze v. Rees [Duke Law case backgrounder], allowing it to consider whether the three-drug lethal injection cocktail [DPIC backgrounder] used in most states violates the Eighth Amendment's prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment. This led to an effective moratorium [JURIST report] on the death penalty in the United States as many federal courts, state courts, and state governors put executions on hold pending the high court's ruling. In addition to Georgia, several other US states have already announced that they will resume executions by lethal injection [JURIST report].



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