death penalty

A county judge has upheld Tennessee's method of execution by lethal injection. The ruling is the latest in the state's years-old death penalty fight.

Davidson County Chancellor Claudia Bonnyman ruled the protocol was constitutional, saying a group of death row inmates and their attorneys failed to show that the use of a single injection of the drug pentobarbital, compounded especially for the state, violates the Eighth Amendment protection from cruel and unusual punishment.

Death row inmate Bernardo Tecero is scheduled to be executed Wednesday, making him 11th person to be put to death in the state this year.

Tecero, a Nicaraguan national, is condemned for murder of a school teacher during an armed robbery of a Houston dry cleaning establishment in 1997. A Texas jury convicted him in 2000.

There is no dispute Tecero is the killer. At issue, however, is whether or not he should be executed.

Connecticut's Supreme Court ruled Thursday that the state's current death penalty law is unconstitutional.

The decision spares the lives of 11 inmates already on the state's death row who were subject to execution even though state lawmakers passed legislation repealing capital punishment in 2012. That law applied to all future cases, not capital crimes committed before the legislation was enacted.

The court effectively closed that loophole with a 4-3 vote.

Oklahoma Department of Corrections

Lawyers for an Oklahoma death row inmate are searching for ways to exonerate a man scheduled to die in September. The execution will be the first after the Supreme Court’s ruling that upheld the use of the controversial drug midazolam.

Richard Glossip has maintained his innocence since he was convicted of first-degree murder in the 1997 death of Oklahoma City motel owner Barry Van Treese. Don Knight is a Colorado-based attorney who has taken up Glossip’s case. He says the evidence against Glossip is paper-thin and the case itself never should have qualified for the death penalty.

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday issued the last of its opinions for this term — on the death penalty, anti-pollution regulations and the power of independent commissions to draw congressional and state legislative districts. In addition, the court issued a set of orders that set up cases to be heard next term on affirmative action and abortion.

Updated at 10:46 a.m. ET

The U.S. Supreme Court, in a 5-4 opinion, says the sedative used in Oklahoma's lethal injection cocktail does not violate the U.S. Constitution's ban on cruel and unusual punishment.

Here's the background to the case, in the words of SCOTUSblog:

Nebraska's Legislature voted Wednesday to abolish the death penalty, overturning Republican Gov. Pete Ricketts' veto. The state's unicameral legislature overwhelmingly approved the measure in a series of three previous votes.

The repeal comes as other states have experienced complications with new lethal-injection cocktails. But Americans overall still support the practice.

Support for the death penalty has slowly fallen over the past couple of decades, from a high of 80 percent in favor in the mid-1990s to just over 60 percent currently, according to Gallup.

Updated at 5:52 p.m. ET

Lawmakers in Nebraska overrode Gov. Pete Ricketts' veto of their vote to repeal the death penalty, making it the first Republican-controlled state in the U.S. to repeal the death penalty since North Dakota in 1973. The vote was 30-19.

Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts vetoed legislation passed last week that repealed the state's death penalty.

"Please sustain my veto. Please stand with the citizens of Nebraska and law enforcement for public safety," he said, flanked by law enforcement personnel, murder victims' family members and state lawmakers who support capital punishment.

Lawmakers in Nebraska have given final approval to a measure that would abolish the death penalty with enough votes to override a threatened veto from Gov. Pete Ricketts.

The vote was 32-15. Conservative Nebraska has a unicameral Legislature and all bills go through three votes. In the previous round, the vote was 30-16; in the first, it was 30-13. It would take 30 votes to override a veto from Ricketts, a Republican. If that happens, Nebraska will become the first Republican-controlled state in the U.S. to repeal the death penalty since North Dakota in 1973.