Baze v. Rees

Baze v. Rees

553 U.S. 35 (2008)

Facts and Procedural History:

Two inmates in the Kentucky prison system questioned the use of the three drugs used in combination for lethal injection, claiming it violated the Eighth Amendment. Because Kentucky conducted only one execution by lethal injection, the Court had a limited access to judge the risks of severe pain from this process. Several other states (including California, Missouri, and Tennessee) found that lethal injection procedures were unconstitutional.

Issues Presented to the Court:

Is the three-drug combination for lethal injection considered “cruel and unusual punishment”, thus breaking the Eighth Amendment?

Outcome of the Case:

The Supreme Court ruled that Kentucky's three-drug protocol for carrying out lethal injections does not amount to cruel and unusual punishment under the Eighth Amendment.