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Delaware to Resume Lethal Injections

By Kamika Dunlap on February 03, 2010 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Delaware's death penalty is back on and the state will resume lethal injections.

The 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the state's death penalty as constitutional, allowing Delaware to resume carrying out executions that have been on hold since 2006.

According to the News Journal, the courts warned that although the state's death penalty does not cause unnecessary or unconstitutional suffering as claimed by 18 death-row inmates in the class-action lawsuit, executions must be carried out with a degree of seriousness and respect.

The appeals court ruling involved a lawsuit filed in 2006 on behalf of convicted ax murderer Robert Jackson III and certified as a class action involving all death row inmates in Delaware.

About 36 states use lethal injection to execute inmates.

The lawsuit alleges that the state's methods involved inadequate qualifications and training of execution team members. In addition, odd procedures such as the execution team mixing drugs in the dark.

As previously discussed, a number of similar lawsuits challenging the use of lethal injection have been filed in California, Maryland and Nebraska.

Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden said he is pleased the state can begin to meet its constitutional obligations and his office will begin scheduling executions as appropriate.

Delaware adopted new execution protocols in 2008 which have not been used but pass constitutional muster. The changes were designed to ensure that a condemned inmate is rendered unconscious before the lethal injection shots.

Delaware revised its lethal injection protocol using a Kentucky procedure upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court that year.

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