[JURIST] Georgia Tuesday evening carried out the first execution in the United States since the US Supreme Court rejected a challenge to Kentucky's lethal injection protocol [JURIST report] and ended a de facto national moratorium on the death penalty. Both the Georgia Supreme Court and the US Supreme Court earlier Tuesday declined to stay the execution by lethal injection of William Earl Lynd, who was convicted of the 1988 murder of his girlfriend. Last week, a Georgia court rejected [JURIST report] a challenge by another condemned inmate to its execution protocol, ruling that Georgia's method was sufficiently similar to Kentucky's so as to be constitutional. That ruling is currently under appeal [JURIST comment]. AP has more.
In September 2007, the Supreme Court granted certiorari in Baze v. Rees [Duke Law case backgrounder; JURIST report], 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. Several other US states have already announced that they will resume executions by lethal injection [JURIST report]. The Georgia Supreme Court had previously stayed the execution of another condemned inmate [JURIST report] while Baze v. Rees was pending before the US Supreme Court.