As Andrew Cohen points out, Tuesday’s decision here could have implications for other pending executions of intellectually disabled inmates in Florida and in other states with narrow guidelines.
Interestingly, in addition to providing some clarity on the constitutionality of Florida’s standard, Kennedy’s opinion also updates the terminology used to describe ineligible inmates. “Previous opinions of this Court have employed the term ‘mental retardation,'” Kennedy wrote, adding, “this opinion uses the term ‘intellectual disability’ to describe the identical phenomenon.”
Justice Alito wrote the dissent for the decision, joined by Chief Justice Roberts, Justice Scalia, and Justice Thomas.
via Supreme Court Strikes Down Florida’s IQ Threshold for the Death Penalty – The Wire.
A doctor started to administer the first drug, a sedative intended to knock the man out and forestall pain, at 6:23 p.m. Ten minutes later, the doctor announced that Mr. Lockett was unconscious, and he started to administer the next two drugs, a paralytic and one intended to make the heart stop.
At that point, witnesses said, things began to go awry. Mr. Lockett’s body twitched, his foot shook and he mumbled, witnesses said.
At 6:37 p.m., he tried to rise and exhaled loudly. At that point, prison officials pulled a curtain in front of the witnesses and the doctor discovered a “vein failure,” Mr. Patton said.
Without effective sedation, the second two drugs are known to cause agonizing suffocation and pain.
Mr. Lockett’s apparent revival and writhing raised questions about the doctor’s initial declaration that he was unconscious and are sure to cast doubt on the effectiveness of the sedative used.
via New York Times: USA – Oklahoma, Clayton Lockett dies of heart attack on the gurney after given unknown lethal drug. The other execution delayed. (EN) | No to the death penalty, Community of Sant’Egidio.