Georgia inmate who wants to die by firing squad gets Supreme Court win
The US Supreme Court sides with a Georgia inmate who wants to die by firing squad.
Michael Wade Nance shot and killed 43-year-old Gagor Balogh in Gwinnett County in 2002. Nance tried to escape after robbing Tucker Federal Savings and Loan in Lilburn.
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Nance is currently on death row. He sued Georgia's prison system, claiming that a lethal injection could cause him excruciating pain. He insists his veins are "severely compromised and unsuitable for permanent IV access". Lethal injection is currently the only option for death row inmates in Georgia.
"Execution by firing squad is both quick and virtually painless," the federal lawsuit states.
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"This case is about whether a prisoner can challenge a method of execution as unconstitutionally cruel, even if it is the only method used by the state. If the answer is no, the courthouse doors will be closed to many prisoners who are simply trying to have their death sentences carried out humanely and lawfully. In short, Mr. Nance's case is about access to a humane execution, not challenging the death penalty itself," Nance's attorney Matthew Hellman said in a statement at the time of the Supreme Court argument.
The Supreme Court ruled in favor of Nance on Thursday.
"An inmate sentenced to death may seek to show that a state's proposed method of execution, either overt or as applied to them, violates the Eighth Amendment prohibition of "cruel and unusual" punishment," Judge Elena Kagan wrote in the majority opinion.
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The verdict does not mean that Nance will be executed by firing squad. Nance can now challenge the state's method of execution through a civil rights lawsuit.
The court remanded the case to the Atlanta-based Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit for proceedings consistent with the Supreme Court's new decision.
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