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Illinois’ financial crisis could bring the state to a halt

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Sutton has not indicated why he chose electrocution — an option for inmates whose crimes were committed before the state adopted lethal injection as its preferred execution method — but other inmates have said they thought the electric chair would be quicker and less painful.

Expert witnesses testifying in 2018 on behalf of Tennessee inmates challenging the state’s three-drug lethal injection protocol said the mix of drugs would cause sensations of drowning, suffocation and chemical burning while rendering them unable to move or call out.

Inmates’ attorneys have argued without success that both lethal injection and electrocution violate the Constitution’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment.

The electric chair fell out of favor in the 1990s following several gruesomely botched executions, including a Florida execution where smoke and flames shot from the head of the condemned inmate. Only one other state, Virginia, has used electrocution this decade, and it has not done so since 2013.

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