Court Battles

Supreme Court takes up appeal of Missouri man on death row

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The Supreme Court on Monday agreed hear the appeal of a Missouri man on death row who argues the state’s death penalty procedures will cause him immense suffering. 

Russell Bucklew was originally sentenced to be executed on March 20, but the court agreed to stay his execution while it considers his appeal. 

Bucklew’s attorneys argue the state’s method of execution would likely cause him needless suffering because of a rare disease he has, known as cavernous hemangioma.


The disease causes unstable, blood-filled tumors to grow in Bucklew’s head, neck and throat that can easily rupture and block his airway. His lawyers said in court briefs the state’s ordinary lethal injection process will cause Bucklew’s throat tumor to rupture and bleed, forcing him to choke on his own blood.

Bucklew is asking the court to rule that inmates with rare and severe medical conditions challenging their execution aren’t required under the Eighth Amendment to come up with an adequate alternative method of execution that reduces their risk of pain.  

Tags death penalty Supreme Court
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