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The U.S. Supreme Court is examining whether the death penalty method in Oklahoma constitutes cruel and unusual punishment for using a virtually untested drug called midazolam.
The plaintiffs, several prisoners on death row in the state, brought the case after the botched execution of Clayton Lockett, who took 43 minutes to die on the gurney in April of 2014.
Jeffrey Stern wrote about what happened that night in a story for next month’s Atlantic magazine. He joins Here & Now's Robin Young to talk about why departments of corrections have been scrambling to find execution drugs, why Oklahoma and other states settled on midazolam and what may change when the Supreme Court ruling comes down next month.
This segment aired on May 20, 2015.