Method-Of-Execution (Lethal Injection) Constitutional Challenges

In Nelson v. Campbell, 541 U.S. 637, 124 S. Ct. 2117, 158 L. Ed. 2d 924 (2004), the United States Supreme Court rejected the line of cases in the Eleventh Circuit that held that method-of-execution challenges are not cognizable as section 1983 claims. In that case, "the Eleventh Circuit held that petitioner was without recourse to challenge the constitutionality of a lethal injection procedure in Federal District Court." Id. at 643. The High Court reversed the decision of the Eleventh Circuit and held that constitutional claims that challenge a State's intended method of execution may be brought under section 1983. See id. Accordingly, for the first time since Kenny, a section 1983 method of execution challenge was cognizable in the Eleventh Circuit. The High Court reaffirmed its disapproval of the Eleventh Circuit's systematic dismissal of all section 1983 method of execution claims in Hill v. McDonough, 547 U.S. 573, 126 S. Ct. 2096, 165 L. Ed. 2d 44 (2006).