In this symposium essay, I explore the politics of botched executions, discussing state responses to the latest round of executions gone wrong and the ways in which those responses matter. Part I recounts four botched executions in 2014 and the state responses that accompanied them. Part II makes three observations about those responses-one about states' fealty to the death penalty, one about backlash politics and the scope of the public relations problem, and one about the changing cultural construct of lethal injection in the United States. Part III explores how state responses to botched executions (or the lack thereof) might impact the constitutionality of lethal injection itself. In the end, the recent spate of botched executions may prove true the old adage about politics making strange bedfellows. The inept executioner may prove the abolitionist's best friend.
Corinna Barrett Laine, The Politics of Botched Executions, 49 U. Rich. L. Rev. 825 (2015).