Whether Kentucky's lethal injection protocol violates the constitutional ban on cruel and unusual punishment by using a combination of drugs that creates an unnecessary and avoidable risk of excruciating pain. DECIDED
The Eighth Amendment's ban on cruel and unusual punishment has long prohibited the imposition of gratuitous pain. The most commonly used method of lethal injection violates that prohibition by using a sequence of drugs that creates an unnecessary risk of excruciating pain, and, for that reason, is prohibited by most veterinary guidelines. In its amicus brief, the ACLU points out that this unconstitutional practice has been facilitated by the secrecy surrounding the development and implementation of lethal injection protocols in most states.