Lethal Injection

I assumed that our decision would bring the debate about lethal injection as a method of execution to a close. It now seems clear that it will not. The question whether a similar three-drug protocol may be used in other States remains open, and may well be answered differently in a future case on the basis of a more complete record. Instead of ending the controversy, I am now convinced that this case will generate debate not only about the constitutionality of the three-drug protocol, and specifically about the justification for the use of the paralytic agent, pancuronium bromide, but also about the justification for the death penalty itself.

Baze v. Rees (2008) U.S. Supreme Court (Stevens, J., concurring).


All states and the federal government use lethal injection as their primary method of execution. States use a variety of protocols using one, two, or three drugs. The three-drug protocol uses an anesthetic or sedative, typically followed by pancuronium bromide to paralyze the inmate and potassium chloride to stop the inmate's heart. The one or two-drug protocols typically use a lethal dose of an anesthetic or sedative.

State-By-State lethal injection information

Information on Compounding Pharmacies

Constitutional Issue - U.S. Supreme Court Review

Statements from drug manufacturers and medical professionals

Executions, including drugs used: 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009

Lethal Injection News & Developments - 2014 2013 2012

Articles and reports, including media coverage and information about secrecy

Legal Resources and Developments


Methods of Execution by State (includes alternative methods inmates may choose)

Botched Executions - including descriptions of the flawed lethal injections in 2014 in Ohio, Oklahoma, and Arizona

Changes to state lethal injection protocols

Death Penalty in Flux (states where executions are on hold)

Autopsy photos of a botched lethal-injection execution in Florida (New Republic May 29, 2014).

More Information About the Attempted Execution of Romell Broom in Ohio and Supreme Court Precedents

Picture of DreamPharma, international source for drugs used in some U.S. executions

"Lethal injection scramble" map from ACLU of Northern California shows which states have obtained sodium thiopental from foreign sources, and includes information on price and quantity of drugs and DEA seizures

Stays granted related to Baze v. Rees

Earlier state actions

Statements from drug manufacturers and other medical professionals

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Changes to state execution protocols

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Articles and Reports

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Official actions and court cases

Other Legal Resources

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