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Federal appeals court rejects Georgia death row inmate's challenge

[JURIST] The US Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit [official website] on Tuesday rejected [opinion, PDF] a Georgia death row inmate's legal challenge. The federal appeals court rejected inmate Brandon Astor Jones' challenge to Georgia law that shields the identity of the producer of the drug used in the execution by a 6-5 decision. Jones argued [AP report] that the information was necessary to show that the state's lethal injection procedures were "cruel and unusual," thereby violating his due process rights. Jones was convicted in 1979 for shooting and killing a convenience store manager. He is set to be executed Tuesday evening.

Use of the death penalty remains a controversial issue throughout the US. In a recent JURIST op-ed, guest columnist John Bessler discussed new changes in the evolution of capital punishment [JURIST op-ed]. In October a judge for the US District Court for the District of Utah denied an appeal [JURIST report] by 74-year-old death row inmate Ron Lafferty to place a hold on his federal case to challenge his execution by firing squad. In September an Oklahoma appeals court granted an emergency stay of execution [JURIST report] for inmate Richard Glossip several hours before he was scheduled for his sentence. In June the US Supreme Court held that the use of the drug midazolam may be used in executions [JURIST report] without violating the constitution. In April the Tennessee Supreme Court postponed the execution [JURIST report] of four inmates on death row while it determines whether current protocols are constitutional, effectively halting all executions in the state. Also in April the Delaware Senate voted to repeal the death penalty [JURIST report], but the legislation includes an exemption for the 15 inmates currently on death row.

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