Bioethics Symposium: Challenges to Lethal Injection

Contact: Jennifer Woo (212) 342-0452 or [email protected]

NEW YORK – The Center for Bioethics at Columbia University Medical Center is sponsoring a full-day symposium on Jan. 23, 2008, titled “The Supreme Court and the Legal, Medical, and Ethical Challenges to Execution by Lethal Injection.”

The symposium is designed for legal scholars, physicians, bioethicists, all students and others interested in this topic, including professional media.

Expert Paul Appelbaum, M.D., Elizabeth K. Dollard Professor of Psychiatry, Medicine, and Law and an affiliated professor at Columbia Law School, will present at the symposium. He is the director, division of psychiatry, law and ethics, department of psychiatry, at the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Columbia University.

Ginger Anders, J.D., a 2002 Columbia Law School graduate and associate at Jenner & Block, will also present. She is a litigator involved in Baze v. Rees, a key death penalty case argued before the U.S. Supreme Court on Jan. 7, 2008.

Other symposium panelists include Allen Hyman, M.D., professor of anesthesiology (retired) at the College of Physicians & Surgeons of Columbia University; Mark Heath, M.D., assistant professor of anesthesiology at Columbia University; and Deborah Denno, J.D., Ph.D., Arthur A. McGivney Professor of Law at Fordham University.

WHAT: The symposium will address a wide range of questions including:

  • What are the ethical, moral, and professional reasons why a physician may elect, or decline, to participate in execution by lethal injection?
  • How does the three-drug cocktail work? How was it developed? What are the risks of conscious paralysis and intraoperative awareness?
  • What happens when the execution procedure is not carried out as ideally planned?
  • How did legal and legislative processes lead to the implementation of the three-drug cocktail method of lethal injection?
  • What are the future implications for judicial execution by lethal injection, given the January 2008 Supreme Court proceedings in Baze v. Rees? Will future interpretations of the Eighth Amendment change to mitigate risk of cruel and unusual punishment?

WHERE: Columbia University Low Library Faculty Room, 116th St. and Broadway, New York

WHEN: 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2008

RSVP: Seating is limited; registration is required to reserve lunch. For registration and additional information, contact Jennifer Woo, Center for Bioethics at Columbia University, [email protected] or (212) 342-0452.