A recent study about the effects of lethal injection on the recipient showed that it is highly likely that individuals being executed by lethal injection are aware and feel themselves dying, despite the appearance of paralysis which prevents them from both moving and speaking up. NCADP issued a press release on this study, and David has blogged the press release on the NCADP blog. I will not duplicate the information therein. However, suffice it to say that this is a big deal. If, in fact, individuals feel themselves dying during the lethal injection process (which essentially pumps them full of poison until their hearts stop and they suffocate), lethal injection is officially as inhumane as hanging, the gas chamber, firing squads and even electrocution. For all but one of the 38 states which allow execution, lethal injection is the default method of execution (in some states the condemned can choose electrocution, hanging or a firing squad). Oh...and that's because, other than electrocution, the remaining options are all considered violative of the 8th Amendment provision against cruel and unusual punishment.
Here's a choice quote from the article below:
"An examination of 49 autopsies found that in 43 cases, the concentration of anesthetic in the bloodstream was less than what is required to numb a surgical patient before making an incision. In 21 cases, the concentration wasn't sufficient to prevent a patient from responding to a verbal command."