Gross was a United States Supreme Court case in 2015 which the Court seized, 5–4, that deadly injections using midazolam do not constitute unpleasant and unusual penalty under the Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution. The first drug in Oklahoma’s lethal injection procedure violates the Eighth Amendment because it fails to reduce a person insensate to pain. I believe the constitution made the proper choice by not changing the law because it benefits the victim’s family and the inmate deserves to be punished.
Charles Warner and 20 other death row inmates sued various state officials and argued that the use of midazolam as the initial drug in the execution protocol violated the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment. On January 15, 2015, the Supreme Court declined to grant the petition for a writ of certiorari, and Charles Warner was subsequently executed. It was granted Jan 23, and in 2015 Apr 29 it was argued, it was decided June 29 2015.
The petitioner was Robin C. Konrad and R. Wyrick was for the respondents. The Oklahoma drug protocol challenged in Glossip is also a three-drug protocol that uses a paralytic and potassium chloride as the second and third drugs, but it substitutes the benzodiazepine midazolam for the first drug, creating risk of severe pain, needless suffering and a lingering death.
The prisoners initially appeared to lose consciousness, but then started moving and demonstrating signs of struggle and suffering.What lead to the Supreme Court case dates back to the 90s. On January 7, 1997, Justin Sneed shattered Barry Van Treese to death with a baseball club. The murder happened at the Best Budget Inn in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, where Van Tresse was the owner, Sneed was the maintenance-man, and Richard Glossip was the executive.
In exchange for dodging the death consequence, Sneed admitted and told police that Glossip had instructed him to stage the murder. Glossip maintained on his actual innocence and refused to receive a plea bargain. In July 1998, an Oklahoma jury convicted Glossip of the killing and penalized him to death. In August 2004, a second Oklahoma jury convicted Glossip of the homicide and sentenced him to death. After a three-justice plurality view of the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the use of the sedative sodium thiopental in the course of lethal injections in Baze v.
Rees (2008), unsettled medicine companies started declining to supply states with the drug. Oklahoma changed the general anesthetic with an unproven off-label usage of midazolam, keeping the drug’s foundation secret. Convicted prisoners Clayton Lockett and Charles Warner sued, and the state trial court found the privacy law unlawful. On April 29, 2014, Oklahoma used midazolam in the execution of Clayton Lockett but Warners execution was delayed.
After a study, Oklahoma selected to continue using midazolam in executions. On June 25, 2014, Warner, Glossip, and nineteen additional Oklahoma death row prisoners sued in the United States District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma, claiming Oklahoma’s use of midazolam dishonored the Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution. After three-day hearing, U.
S. District Judge Stephen P. Friot verbally denied the convicted prisoners’ request for a preliminary injunction prohibiting the use of midazolam in their executions. On January 12, 2015, Tenth Circuit Judge Mary Beck Briscoe, merged by Neil Gorsuch and Scott Matheson Jr., acknowledged the decisions. Oklahoma prison inmates sued the Oklahoma’s state for using an untested drug to execute the inmates but the state refused and continued using midazolam. The inmates made a claim that the drugs failed to give a physical sensation and believed it was a cruel punishment while the court decided it didn’t violated the eight amendments because there was not enough evidence to overturn this.
The Supreme Court decision was by a majority. Justice Antonin Scalia Justice Samuel A. Alito, Jr.
Justice Thomas, justice Kennedy and justice Robert were the five supreme court judges that denied the prisoners wishes as most of them claim Eighth Amendment does not necessitate that a constitutional technique of execution be free of any risk of pain. Constitution expressly contemplates the death penalty when it considers the possibility that someone may be “deprived of life,” and therefore capital punishment cannot be unconstitutional. The studies cited in support of the arbitrariness of the imposition of the death penalty are themselves unreliable because they require that the moral reasons to execute someone be reduced to a metric by academics who were not present at trial.
However the four Supreme Court judges that agreed with the prisoners had their own beliefs. Justice Kagen claims there is no requirement that petitioners for relief under the Eighth Amendment provide a reasonable alternative, because a cruel method of execution does not become constitutional simply due to a lack of alternatives. Justice Ginsburg, justice Sotomayor, justice Breyer also agreed but they had additional beliefs; they wrote “the use of midazolam violates the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment. The nation has consistently been moving away from the use of the death penalty, to the point that it is used so rarely as to be considered “unusual” for the purpose of the Eighth Amendment. The constitutionality of a punishment must be evaluated based on currently prevailing social and legal standards; therefore, the death penalty is no longer constitutional. Based on the Supreme Court’s verdict the society can now depend on the court to make a decent choice instead of allowing a killer to die without no pain. The victim’s family will also rest well knowing that the murderer didn’t perish in peace but however some might disagree and claim that the court only won by one vote and accuse the Supreme Court for not making a smart choice.
I believe the Supreme Court made a good decision to turn down the prisoners claims because it is disrespectful to the victim’s family. This desciosn will help the past, the presents, and the victim’s family but it will hurt the the prisoners knowing that they are going to die with a lot of pain