A remote controlled stun device has been found to alter the demeanor and capacity to communicate of defendants in open court. But a California Supreme Court rejected those concerns in upholding a death sentence this week.
Twelve years ago, the Supreme Court wrote a big loophole into the constitutional rule prohibiting executions of people with intellectual disabilities. A case they will hear today could close that loophole.
During recent executions, inmates were observed to gasp, convulse, and turn purple over periods much longer than the typical lethal injection. All of these executions used drugs made by pharmacies not regulated by the FDA.
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Herbert Smulls was in the middle of a phone call discussing his attorneys' final efforts to save his life when he was reportedly seized by prison guards, hauled into an execution chamber, and injected with a toxic cocktail of drugs.