by Joseph Jankowski
Mississippi lawmakers are considering a few rather brutal methods of the death penalty if a court blocks the use of lethal injection drugs.
The AP reports:
Mississippi lawmakers are advancing a proposal to add firing squad, electrocution and gas chamber as execution methods in case a court blocks the use of lethal injection drugs.
Republican Rep. Andy Gipson says House Bill 638 is a response to lawsuits by “liberal, left-wing radicals.”
The bill passed the House amid opposition Wednesday, and moves to the Senate.
Lethal injection is Mississippi’s only execution method. The state faces lawsuits claiming the drugs it plans to use would violate constitutional prohibitions against cruel and unusual punishment.
Of the 33 states with the death penalty, only Oklahoma and Utah have firing squad as an option.
HB 638 reads:
(2) If the method of execution authorized in subsection (1) of this section is held unconstitutional by a court of competent jurisdiction or is otherwise unavailable, then the sentence of death shall be carried out by nitrogen hypoxia.
(3) If the methods of execution authorized in subsections (1) and (2) of this section are held unconstitutional by a court of competent jurisdiction or are otherwise unavailable, then the sentence of death shall be carried out by firing squad.
(4) If the methods of execution authorized in subsections (1), (2) and (3) of this section are held unconstitutional by a court of competent jurisdiction or are otherwise unavailable, then the sentence of death shall be carried out by electrocution.
According to House Judiciary B Chairman Andy Gipson, R-Braxton, the bill has the support of Gov. Phil Bryant and Attorney General Jim Hood.
“I have a constituent whose daughter was raped and killed 25 years ago and the person is still awaiting execution,” Gipson told the Clarion-Ledger. “If we want to have the death penalty, this bill will give us options.”
The last time Mississippi executed someone was in 2012. Since then, a federal lawsuit in the state’s Supreme Court concerning lethal injection drugs has led to a decrease in the supply of lethal doses.
Mississippi currently has 47 inmates currently on death row.
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