Prisoner Rights Experts Comment on Lethal Injection Case

Columbia Law School Experts Discuss
U.S. Supreme Court Decision to Hear Lethal Injection Case
Press contact: Sonia von Gutfeld, 212-854-1453, [email protected]
September 26, 2007 (NEW YORK) Columbia Law School professors are available to discuss the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to hear arguments in a Kentucky case about whether lethal injection violates the constitutional ban on cruel and unusual punishment. Professors Michael C. Dorf, Philip Genty, Sherry F. Colb and Jeffrey A. Fagan are experts on criminal law and prisoner rights.
"It seems that each generation's supposed advance in humane execution becomes the next generation's example of cruelty. Like the guillotine and the electric chair, lethal injection was heralded as a scientific advance, only to result in cruelty in practice," said Michael C. Dorf, Isidor and Seville Sulzbacher Professor of Law. Dorf has clerked on the Supreme Court and specializes in civil procedure, comparative constitutions, federal courts and pragmatism. His most recent book is “No Litmus Test: Law and Politics in the Twenty-First Century.” He blogs on legal issues at Dorf On Law.
Michael Dorf can be reached today, September 26, at 212-854-2672 and at [email protected].
“The Supreme Court has not reviewed this issue since a 1940s case concerning the electric chair. If the Court adheres to the Eighth Amendment standard – whether punishment is equivalent to torture or lingering death – this case will turn on the factual evidence of the extent of suffering involved in lethal injection,” said Philip Genty, Clinical Professor of Law. Genty has been an attorney at Prisoners’ Legal Services and has researched and taught on prisoners' rights, family law and appellate advocacy.
Professor Philip Genty is available at 212-854-3250 and at [email protected].
“In theory, lethal injection can be quick and painless, but, in reality, mistakes are regularly made, and the suffering that results can be immense,” said Sherry Colb, Visiting Professor. Colb has clerked on the Supreme Court and specializes in criminal procedure and mental health law.
Professor Sherry Colb is available at 212-854-4121 and at [email protected].
Jeffrey Fagan, Professor of Law and Public Health and Co-Director of the Center for Crime, Community and Law, has conducted research on law and social policy since 1976 and speaks regularly to the media about prisoner rights and criminal law. He is available at 212-854-2624 and at [email protected].
Reporters can also schedule live and taped TV interviews in the Law School’s fiber optic transmission studio. Contact [email protected].
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