On April 29, 2015, the Supreme Court heard oral argument in Glossip v. Gross. This case concerns three questions. The first is whether it is constitutional for a state to execute an inmate by administering a three drug protocol in which a) there is some scientific agreement that the first drug does not sufficiently relieve pain or consistently render a person in a deep state of unconsciousness and b) there is a substantial risk that administration of the second and third drugs would cause significant pain to a still-conscious prisoner. The second question is whether the plurality stay standard of Baze v. Rees is applicable when states are using a different execution protocol than the one involved in Baze v. Rees. The third question is whether, if a state's protocol for lethal injection will violate the Eighth Amendment, the legal duty to propose a different drug falls upon the prisoner.
To discuss the case, we have John Stinneford, who is an Associate Professor of Law and Assistant Director, Criminal Justice Center at the University of Florida Levin College of Law.