It’s true that there have been two state governors who recently halted executions in their state, pointing to the pending action by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Both the governor of the State of Ohio and the governor of Pennsylvania have used their executive power to stop any executions from happening in their two states, at least for the time being. (Of note, Pennsylvania hasn’t executed anyone since 1999.)
And, it’s true that the State of Oklahoma has had its executions stayed. This halt is also due to recent activity before SCOTUS.
However, it’s important to recognize that this isn’t signaling the halt of capital punishment in this country.
SCOTUS may have undertaken review of lethal injection as a method of capital punishment when a part of that lethal injection cocktail involves using midazolam, but the Supreme Court hasn’t gone so far as to stop the death penalty itself in this country.
Midazolam is one of the drugs used in the Florida lethal injection procedure. Florida had an execution scheduled for February 26, 2015, but there was a move to stay that execution based upon the pending case before the Supreme Court.
SCOTUS Allowed Two Death Penalty Executions Already This Year
States Considering Capital Punishment
Moreover, capital punishment is being considered as a form of punishment in at least one state right now. Michigan is considering instituting capital punishment.
States Considering Other Forms of Execution
Other states are considering other ways of execution in case lethal injection proves to be too difficult, constitutionally (or practically, given the limited supply of drugs).
- Wyoming is considering the firing squad.
- Utah is considering the firing squad, as well.
- Oklahoma is considering the gas chamber.
It’s not over and it looks like SCOTUS is making it clear that we shouldn’t misread its granting of writ in the Oklahoma case as being a bigger signal than it is.