The U.S. Supreme Court has decided not to consider whether Florida's use of the electric chair is unconstitutional. The court on Jan. 24 declared the issue irrelevant because of a state law passed Jan. 14 that gives death-row inmates the option of "choosing" lethal injection.
The bloody electrocution of Allen Lee Davis this past summer was a catalyst for bringing up the question of whether the electric chair is cruel and unusual punishment. Now that Florida offers an alternative, only three states -- Alabama, Georgia and Nebraska -- use the chair as the sole method of execution.
The discussion is not over, however. Attorneys for death-row inmates sentenced specifically to the electric chair will have to deal with whether the lethal-injection law can be applied retroactively. Furthermore, a recent state law that restricts death-penalty appeals in an attempt to speed up executions is being challenged in the Florida Supreme Court.
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