Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood [official website] stated Wednesday that he plans to ask lawmakers to approve the firing squad, electrocution or nitrogen gas as alternate methods of execution [press release] if the state prohibits lethal injections. States access to execution drugs has been hindered as a result of companies refusing the use of their products for execution purposes. Currently Mississippi has put all executions on hold due to its exhausted supply of drugs to perform lethal injections. The American Civil Liberties Union of Mississippi [advocacy website] has strongly apposed the suggestion, arguing [press release] the proposed methods are barbaric.
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]. Last month 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.