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Cruel and Unusual Punishment? Expert Weighs In On Death Penalty and Execution

Released: 30-Apr-2014 10:00 AM EDT
Source Newsroom: Georgia State University
Contact Information

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In light of the events surrounding the execution of Clayton Lockett in Oklahoma, Lauren Lucas, Professor of Law at Georgia State University, is available to discuss capital punishment in the United States, with expertise in constitutional law, the right to counsel, capital punishment and indigent defense.

Lucas, a magna cum laude graduate of Harvard Law School, previously clerked for former Associate Justice John Paul Stevens on the Supreme Court of the United States. She later served as a Soros Justice Fellow and staff attorney at the Southern Center for Human Rights in Atlanta, and is currently on the board of the directors of the center.

At the center, she represented indigent capital clients in Georgia and Alabama, and litigated civil claims regarding constitutional violations within the criminal justice system, based primarily on the right to counsel. Lucas is additionally on the Indigent Defense Committee of the State Bar of Georgia.

“The courts – and the Supreme Court in particular – have been hesitant to impose more stringent requirements on execution protocols or to require additional measures that would lower the risk of botched procedures, like the one that occurred last night in Oklahoma.  Perhaps the events in Oklahoma will provide an opportunity for courts to recognize that more oversight is in fact needed.  Courts have been willing to push back some on states’ desire to keep secret the details of their lethal injection protocols, the drugs that will be used, and the means by which such drugs are obtained.  That is a step in the right direction, since such information is critical to determine whether an execution will constitute cruel and unusual punishment.  We cannot allow our desperation to execute those convicted of capital murder to override basic principles of fair process.  While those who have committed a heinous crime should be punished, they should not be forced to endure torture, and we as a society should not tolerate that possibility.”

For more about Lucas, visit http://law.gsu.edu/directory/lslucas.

Lucas can be reached at:
Phone: 404-413-9258
Email: lslucas@gsu.edu
Note: Lucas receives text and email alerts when voicemails are left on the contact phone number above in order to respond quickly as possible.

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