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Arizona execution renews debate over methods

First Published      Last Updated Jul 26 2014 11:33 am
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Chemerinsky said he believes lethal injection is here to stay because of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling it constitutional in 2008.

A Utah lawmaker says he will introduce legislation next year to restart firing squads in that state. Utah eliminated firing squads in 2004, citing the excessive media attention it gave inmates. But those sentenced to death before 2004 can choose it, which is what condemned inmate Ronnie Lee Gardner did in 2010. Five police officers using .30-caliber Winchester rifles executed Gardner, the third inmate to die that way since the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1976.

Kent Scheidegger, legal director of the pro-death penalty Criminal Justice Legal Foundation in Sacramento, said that the lethal injection process can be fixed and he wants government to looking for an answer.

Regardless, he said it's unclear whether Wood — and others who endured prolonged lethal injections— suffered any pain, which is more than his two victims could say.

California Attorney General Kamala Harris, a death penalty opponent who must decide whether to appeal a federal judge's recent decision striking down California's death penalty, was asked this week if a humane execution method is even possible.

"I honestly don't know," she said.