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Supreme Court Rejects Plea from Man to Be Executed, Request Came From Fear of Excruciating Death from Pre-Existing Brain Surgery

todayMay 24, 2021 3

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The three liberal justices in the Supreme Court critiqued the court’s other six-member conservative majority who refused to hear an appeal by a brain-damaged death row inmate.

What We Know:

  • Convicted killer Ernest Johnson is on death row and put on a request to be executed by a firing squad. Johnson told the court that death by lethal injection would be so painful it would violate the Constitution’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment. Johnson’s lawyer argues that lethal injection would be akin to torture because he suffers from epileptic seizures and significant brain damage. The court ultimately declined to interfere with another court ruling that closed Johnson’s case without considering the firing squad alternative.
  • Initially, the 8th U.S Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with Johnson that death by lethal injection would violate the eighth amendment bar to cruel and unusual punishment. The lower court agreed Johnson could be executed by nitrogen gas. The state of Missouri appealed that ruling, which was still pending in 2019. The Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that a state could decline to use nitrogen gas as an alternative for execution because it lacked a “track record of successful use.”
  • Attorneys for Johnson attempted to amend the suit, but the 8th Circuit refused. The firing squad was last used in 2010 in Utah. The court argues that Johnson should originally have listed more than nitrogen gas as an alternative to lethal injection. Now that the case has closed, the court has stated Johnson can no longer amend the ruling.
  • In 2019, the Supreme Court stated that inmates seeking to identify an alternative method of execution are “not limited to choosing among those presently authorized by a particular state’s law.” Johnson was originally convicted of killing three people during a robbery in 1994. Missouri told the Supreme Court that it should not allow additional legal maneuvering from Johnson.

The Supreme Court delayed Johnson’s execution in 2015, and he has been fighting the use of lethal injection since.

The post Supreme Court Rejects Plea from Man to Be Executed, Request Came From Fear of Excruciating Death from Pre-Existing Brain Surgery appeared first on Black News Alerts.

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todayMay 24, 2021 3

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