ACLU Weighs In On Hamilton Sentencing

By: Daniel Chanin Email
By: Daniel Chanin Email

On Friday, Tamir Hamilton became the first man sentenced to die in Washoe County in nearly six years.

All executions in Nevada are currently on hold, because the Supreme Court is reviewing whether or not lethal injection constitutes cruel and unusual punishment.

Lee Rowland of the Nevada ACLU says only then, will Tamir Hamilton and the 83 others currently on death row, learn their fate.

"Everything hinges on that US Supreme Court decision," says Rowland. "If they should decide that lethal injection is unconstitutionally cruel and unusual, then we could see an order that could change the way we use lethal injection in Nevada or even eliminate it."

Last November, the ACLU asked the State Supreme Court to halt all executions while the US Supreme Court considers the constitutionality of lethal injection.

The State Supreme Court ordered the stay just 90 minutes before William Castillo's scheduled execution.

Rowland says society has progressed to a point where the three-drug cocktail is cruel and unusual punishment.

"As we move forward as a country and a world and how we consider methods of execution, the standards do change. Because cruel and unusual changes as time goes on."

Tamir Hamilton's death sentence cannot be overturned, even if the Supreme Court decides lethal injection is cruel and unusual. If the court does side with the ACLU, Nevada's Supreme Court would have to find a constitutional method of execution.

Rowland says she expects a decision to come sometime in June.


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