Supreme Court ruling on lethal injection heightens capital punishment debate

The Supreme Court ruled 5 to 4 in favor of allowing a controversial drug

Members of security stand outside of the Supreme Court in Washington, Monday June 29, 2015. The Supreme Court refused on Monday to allow Texas to enforce restrictions that would force 10 abortion clinics to close. The justices voted 5-4 to grant an emergency appeal from the clinics after a federal appeals court upheld new regulations and refused to keep them on hold while the clinics appealed to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court order will remain in effect at least until the court decides whether to hear the clinics' appeal of the lower court ruling, not before the fall. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) — Capital punishment has been a hot button topic in the United States for decades.

“It depends on the situation and the crime. I mean if it is a federal offense such as like terrorism or something I think it does have a place,” Chris Grochmal of Agawam, told 22News.

George Antone, told 22News he once agreed with the death penalty but has since changed his mind. “I can’t imagine any circumstance where I would be able to do that myself so I just don’t support it anymore.”

Capital punishment is not legal here in the state of Massachusetts but is still allowed by the federal government.

The Supreme Court ruled 5 to 4 in favor of allowing a controversial drug, midazolam, used for executions to continue to be used. That drug was supposed to be the center of the debate, but leading up to that decision, two justices shifted the debate to whether or not capital punishment itself is constitutional.

Attorney Justin Dion told 22News the heart of the debate was with the language of the 8th amendment which prohibits cruel and unusual punishment.

“As society changes, people’s interpretation of words changes. As I said back in the 1700’s they thought nothing of stoning of somebody to death and that clearly would be cruel today.”

Dion told 22News as society changes so does their interpretation of words. Dion says over the years the death penalty has been outlawed, but that it was then brought back as a way to try and lower a spike in crime.

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