The high court agreed Friday to hear a case testing the humaneness of Oklahoma’s lethal injection protocol.

But in a 5-4 decision along party lines, the court agreed to let three Oklahoma executions take place before the case is heard. Richard Glossip, John Grant and Benjamin Cole, all convicted of heinous crimes, are scheduled to be executed in January, February and March, respectively. The court will hear arguments the following month, in April.

At issue is whether Oklahoma’s lethal injection protocol should be considered cruel and unusual punishment, which is expressly prohibited by the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution.

The issue comes up after Oklahoma botched the execution of Clayton Lockett last in April. Lockett appeared to suffer greatly as he was put to death.

An attorney arguing against the state said, “The drug protocol used in Oklahoma is not capable of producing a humane execution, even if it is administered properly.”

Source: Reuters.

— Posted by Peter Z. Scheer

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