February 8, 2024
On Thursday, January 25, 2024, Alabama executed an inmate by nitrogen hypoxia. This is the first time that this method of execution has been used in the United States. In 1994, I was instrumental in Maryland’s abandoning the gas chamber as its exclusive means of execution and substituting lethal injection. Since 1994, lethal injection has come under increasing attack. Here is a link to a paper that I first presented to the Wranglers Law Club in 2015 and presented in revised form to the Honorable James Macgill American Inn of Court in 2017 that describes how I became involved in challenging the gas chamber and discusses methods of execution.
Maryland abolished capital punishment prospectively in 2013 and then-Governor Martin O’Malley ultimately commuted the death sentences of the Maryland inmates who were under a sentence of death. Although it has been many years since I was involved in death penalty litigation, it still is an interest of mine and the question of methods of execution remains a current issue in the states that still have capital punishment.