WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court has upheld the use of a controversial drug that has been implicated in several botched executions.
The justices on Monday voted 5-4 in a case from Oklahoma that the sedative midazolam can be used in executions without violating the Eighth Amendment prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment.
The drug was used in executions in Arizona, Ohio and Oklahoma in 2014 that took longer than usual and raised concerns that it did not perform its intended task of putting inmates into a coma-like sleep.
The State of California, which has not executed anyone since 2006, will not be affected by the ruling because the drug is not used as part of the state’s existing lethal injection cocktail.
However, those who advocate against the death penalty were hoping the drug would be found as cruel and unusual punishment.
Professor of Law at UC Hastings, Rory Little said he was not surprised by the decision, but noted that the opinions totaled 127 pages.
“That’s more pages than they burned on the same-sex marriage case last Friday,” he said.
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