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Supreme Court Rules For Inmate Seeking Execution by Firing Squad

The Supreme Court ruled 5 to 4 in favor of a Georgia death row inmate who challenged the state’s lethal injection protocol, Courthouse News Service reports. Michael Wade Nance, a convicted murderer, said that because of a vein condition, a lethal injection would likely cause him severe pain and cause his veins to burst. He also said that the sedative injection may not work because of the medication he takes for back pain, meaning he would be awake during the execution. He said the lethal injection would be cruel and unusual punishment and is seeking death by firing squad. This method of execution is legal in four other states, but not Georgia.


Nance’s request was blocked by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit, which said a a habeas corpus petition is the proper way to request a change in execution method. This decision was overturned by the Supreme Court. In a majority opinion joined by Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Brett Kavanaugh, Justice Elena Kagan cited the court’s 2019 decision in Bucklew v. Precythe, stating that a prisoner can request an alternative execution method that is permitted in other states. Justice Amy Coney Barrett wrote a dissenting opinion, saying that the 11th Circuit ruling was correct.