Execution: Testing the Untested on Humans

By: Julie Manakas, Law Clerk at the Law Offices of Stephen G. Cline** What constitutes a cruel and unusual punishment? The question can sometimes be ambiguous and for some the answer depends on the crime that was committed. When Dennis McGuire was put to death by execution on January 16, the manner and result of the lethal injection was nothing short of cruel. The state of Ohio used a never before tested combination of lethal drugs that ultimately put Dennis to death. It took twenty-five minutes from when the lethal drugs were injected into his veins for his heart to stop beating. During those minuets, Dennis was making snorting and choking sounds while loudly gasping for air with his fist clenched tightly. One might say that Dennis got what he deserved. Dennis was convicted of raping and killing a pregnant woman in 1989. But if our society is and rightfully…