In 2014, Russell Bucklew asserted that the lethal injection protocol in Missouri was cruel and unusual as applied to him due to a particular medical condition from which he suffered. While Bucklew proposed an alternative method of execution, the state of Missouri argued that this did not meet the test established by the Supreme Court in Baze v. Rees and Glossip v. Gross.

Was Missouri’s lethal injection protocol a violation of the Eighth Amendment in this particular case? Prof. John Stinneford of the University of Florida Levin College of Law discusses the intricacies of as-applied challenges and death penalty tests in Bucklew v. Precythe.


As always, the Federalist Society takes no particular legal or public policy positions. All opinions expressed are those of the speaker.

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Related Links & Differing Views:

Reason: “What Bucklew Doesn’t Say”

Los Angeles Times: “Supreme Court says the Constitution does not ensure a ‘painless’ execution”

The Atlantic: “Unusual Cruelty at the Supreme Court”

The Washington Post: “Divided Supreme Court rules against death-row inmate with rare condition”

University of Miami Law Review: “Gaming The Capital Punishment System—Bucklew v. Precythe

The Federalist Society: “Courthouse Steps Decision Teleforum: Bucklew v. Precythe