Report Calls for Changes in Death Penalty System

One week after a botched execution in Oklahoma, the Constitution Project, a nonpartisan legal research group, issued a report calling for a massive overhaul of how states carry out executions.  The report Irreversible Error does not take a position on capital punishment, but lists 40 recommendations for reforming the capital punishment system to prevent unnecessary errors.

Among the recommendations, the report urges states to use the most scientifically reliable method in executions to minimize pain and suffering.  Their recommendation is a single anesthetic or barbiturate that has been approved by the U.S. government for executions, rather than a complex mixture of drugs and dosages that can be miscalculated.

The report also calls on states to adopt lethal-injection protocols that are transparent and allow for public comment.  Protocols should provide information about the drugs used and the qualifications of the people administering them. Other recommendations include improving standards for forensic labs and experts and removing restrictions on post-conviction appeals and challenges.

The panel that issued the report included both proponents and opponents of the death penalty.
Posted: May 9, 2014

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