National Catholic Reporter

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Lethal injection

Bishops welcome court's review of using lethal injection in executions

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The U.S. Supreme Court's decision to review the use of lethal injections in carrying out executions is a welcome move, said the chairmen of two U.S. bishops' committees.

The court said Jan. 23 it will review the drug protocols of lethal-injection executions in the state of Oklahoma and consider whether such procedures violate the U.S. Constitution's ban on cruel and unusual punishment.

"I welcome the court's decision to review this cruel practice," said Archbishop Thomas Wenski of Miami, chairman of the U.S. bishops' Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development.

Executions drop to lowest level in two decades

Driven in part by continuing legal disputes related to lethal injection drugs and state moratoriums on the death penalty, the 35 people executed in the U.S. this year marks the fewest in two decades, according to a year-end report by the Death Penalty Information Center.

The center, which opposes capital punishment, also found that the 72 death sentences issued in 2014 represents the fewest in 40 years.

After botched execution, OK archbishop denounces death penalty

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The execution of Clayton Lockett did not go off without a hitch Tuesday night.

Instead of death by lethal injection, the Oklahoman inmate died of a heart attack, with the complication attributed to vein failure, the Associated Press reported. The state corrections department was using a new three-drug combination, and the botched execution led them to postpone the execution of Charles F. Warner, also scheduled for Tuesday night, for two weeks.  

As execution drugs grow short, states scramble on capital punishment

Prison guards meet in the desert to hand off chemicals for executions. A corrections boss loaded with cash travels to a pharmacy in another state to buy lethal sedatives. States across the country refuse to identify the drugs they use to put the condemned to death.

This is the curious state of capital punishment in America today.

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April 10-23, 2015

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