US court rules that insane prisoners can be executedBMJ 2003; 326 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.326.7386.415 (Published 22 February 2003) Cite this as: BMJ 2003;326:415
- Scott Gottlieb
- New York
Arkansas can execute mentally ill inmates, as long as medication enables them to understand that they are being executed and the reason for it, a US federal appeals court has ruled.
The decision reopens a longstanding debate about whether mentally ill inmates can be executed if they are sane only while taking drugs. The debate is ripe for the US Supreme Court, attorneys say. If this court hears the case, they say, any decision would set a precedent and would have ramifications across the country.
“It's a tough question,” said J. Thomas Sullivan, a law professor at the …