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Supreme Court to hear appeal of Missouri death row inmate

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Russell Bucklew

WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court has agreed to review the case of a Missouri death row inmate who says his rare medical condition could cause him to choke on his own blood during an execution.

The justices on Monday said they would hear the appeal of inmate Russell Bucklew. The court blocked Bucklew’s execution in March after he argued that a tumor in his throat is likely to rupture and bleed during the administration of the drugs that would be used to kill him.

Bucklew argues that subjecting him to lethal injection would violate the Constitution’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment because of his medical condition.

The issue is whether Bucklew has to show there is another method of execution available that would reduce the risk of needless suffering.

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