lethal injection

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.

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.

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday dealt a major blow to death penalty opponents, upholding the use of a controversial drug as part of a three-drug execution cocktail. The vote was 5-4, with unusually passionate and sometimes bitter opinions from the majority and dissenting justices.

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:

There are only a few weeks left for the U.S. Supreme Court to announce its decisions in some pretty hefty cases they heard this term. Same-sex marriage, healthcare reform and the death penalty are just a few of the issues the justices will weigh in on.

NPR Legal Affairs Correspondent Nina Totenberg talks with Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson about impending Supreme Court decisions.

Buzzfeed updates their recent story about Oklahoma misleading the U.S. Supreme Court in a lethal injection case. Attorney General Scott Pruitt’s office admits it was an “inadvertent citation error.”

Buzzfeed reports that the Oklahoma attorney general’s office misrepresented the facts behind a key argument about the availability of certain execution drugs in its filings at the U.S. Supreme Court.

Lethal injection was the grim subject before the U.S. Supreme Court Wednesday. Specifically at issue: whether the drug combinations currently used to execute convicted murderers in some states are unconstitutionally cruel.

The issue comes to the court after three botched executions over the past year.