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Saturday, May 31, 2014

Criminal Justice Quote: Nitrogen Gas Chambers: Send Them Off Laughing

     [A] new method of execution being proposed…is known as nitrogen asphyxiation, it seals the condemned in an airtight chamber pumped full of nitrogen gas, causing a lack of oxygen….Nitrogen gas has yet to be put to the test as a method of capital punishment--no country currently uses it for state-sanctioned executions. But people do die accidentally of nitrogen asphyxiation, and usually never know what hit them. (It's even possible that death by nitrogen gas is mildly euphoric. Deep-sea divers exposed to an excess of nitrogen develop a narcosis, colorfully known as "raptures of the deep, " similar to drunkenness or nitrous oxide inhalation.)…

     In late April 2014, Louisiana Department of Corrections Secretary James LeBlanc suggested to a state legislative committee that Louisiana should look into using nitrogen gas as a new method of execution, since lethal injection has become so contentious. "It's become almost impossible to execute someone," LeBlanc complained….

     "Nitrogen is the big thing," LeBlanc told the legislative committee. "It's a painless way to go. But more time needs to be spent studying that." The committee instructed LeBlanc to do some research on the subject and report back. In the meantime, Louisiana has delayed a pending execution….[In May 2014, Ohio delayed four executions due to the controversy over killing death row inmates with the single drug pentobarbital.]

Matt Mangino, "New Execution Method on the Horizon--Nitrogen Gas Asphyxiation," mattmangino.com, May 26, 2014

     

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