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On January 7, 2008 the Supreme Court heard oral argument in Baze v. Rees, a case concerning the death penalty and a popular form of lethal injection.  Specifically the case asks three questions: (1) whether the Eighth Amendment prohibits means for carrying out a method of execution that create an unnecessary risk of pain and suffering as opposed to only a substantial risk of the wanton infliction of pain; (2) do  the means for carrying out an execution cause an unnecessary risk of pain and suffering in violation of the Eighth Amendment upon a showing that readily available alternatives that pose less risk of pain and suffering could be used ; (3) does the continued use of sodium thiopental, pancuronium bromide, and potassium chloride, individually or together, violate the cruel and unusual punishment clause of the Eighth Amendment because lethal injections can be carried out by using other chemicals that pose less risk of pain and suffering? In this episode of SCOTUScast, Attorney Kent Scheidegger, Legal Director of the Criminal Justice Legal Foundation discusses the case.




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