WASHINGTON (AP) -- Supreme Court justices have been silent about last month's execution in Arizona. Nor did any justice protest executions by lethal injection in Florida and Missouri.
The annual number of executions has dropped by more than half over the past 15 years, and the court has barred states from killing juveniles and the mentally disabled. But no justice has emerged as a principled opponent of the death penalty, as Justices William Brennan, Thurgood Marshall, Harry Blackmun and John Paul Stevens have in the past.
In Arizona, Joseph Wood had sought information on the drugs that would be used to kill him on July 23. He was pronounced dead nearly two hours after his execution began. Witnesses say he appeared to gasp hundreds of times before he died.