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Statement of Attorney General Thurbert Baker on Supreme Court Decision Barring Electrocution as Means of Execution

PRESS ADVISORY

Statement of Attorney General Thurbert Baker on Supreme Court Decision Barring Electrocution as Means of Execution

October 5, 2001

“I am extremely disappointed in today’s 4 to 3 Supreme Court decision. I strongly disagree, both factually and legally, with the majority’s rationale in reaching their decision. The Georgia Supreme Court, on numerous occasions prior to today’s decision, has upheld electrocution as a means of putting Georgia’s murderers to death. As the dissent points out, the cases that the Court decided today presented no new evidence on the issue. The effect of the majority’s decision is to substitute their personal opinions for the will of the people of Georgia as expressed through their elected representatives. Indeed, even three members of the Court point out that, rather than reflecting the evolving standards of decency of the people of Georgia, the majority’s decision reflects the evolving opinions of the majority of the Court.

The Georgia Supreme Court has the final say on interpreting the Georgia Constitution, and there is simply no further appeal that can be taken. While electrocution as a means of execution has been thrown out, death by lethal injection as a means of execution is still clearly valid law in Georgia. The Court has emphatically ruled that lethal injection may be used to carry out the sentences of execution against current death row inmates, and the State of Georgia will proceed accordingly.”