Posted on Sat, May. 10, 2008
Tenn. Supreme Court Justice derides lethal injection
The Associated Press
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. --Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens says the euthanized Kentucky Derby horse Eight Belles probably died more humanely than death row prisoners do.
Stevens drew a round of applause for his comments Friday night in Chattanooga at the 68th conference of the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
The comments were reported in the Chattanooga Times Free Press.
According to the newspaper, in brief remarks Stevens told the audience he checked into the procedure used to kill Eight Belles and was surprised to learn it is against the law in Kentucky to kill animals using one of the drugs in a three-drug lethal injection cocktail that many states, including Kentucky, use to execute prisoners.
The speech comes on the heels of a Supreme Court ruling that shot down a challenge to the three-drug lethal injection protocol by two Kentucky inmates. Stevens voted with the majority on the question of lethal injections but said for the first time that he now believes the death penalty is unconstitutional.