CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

Friday, June 26, 2020

Conklin on Firing Squads and Lethal Injections

In the article A Modest Proposal: The Federal Government Should Use Firing Squads to Execute Federal Death Row Inmates, Stephanie Moran argues that firing squads are the only execution method that meets the requirements of the Eighth Amendment. In order to make her case, Moran unjustifiably overstates the negative aspects of lethal injection while understating the negative aspects of firing squads. The entire piece is predicated upon assumptions that are not only unsupported by the evidence but often directly refuted by the evidence. This essay critically analyzes Moran’s claims regarding the alleged advantages of the firing squad over lethal injection. Topics covered include the alleged burning sensation from lethal injection, length of lethal injection pain, constitutionality of administering an intravenous injection (IV), inmate preferences in method of execution, constitutionality of firing squads, overlooked firing squad safety measures, and deceptive botch rate statistics. Additionally, potential motivations for why one would want to promote the firing squad over lethal injection are examined.

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