The objective of this article is to examine this issue by formulating an analytical framework for determining when methods of execution constitute cruel and unusual punishment. This task is accomplished Part II by briefly tracing the historical evolution of the Eighth Amendment's Cruel and Unusual Punishments Clause. Part III examines the prohibition's core components. Part IV reviews the traditional and modem interpretations of cruel and unusual punishment as applied to the methods of capital punishment, and assesses the standard with which to determine whether a specific method of execution comports with the present interpretation of cruel and unusual punishment as it is used in the context of capital punishment. The crux of this article explores and develops the qualitative, or subjective, facet of the Cruel and Unusual Punishments Clause, concluding that such a standard offers the best test for determining whether a method of execution is constitutional.
Roberta M. Harding, The Gallows to the Gurney: Analyzing the (Un)Constitutionality of the Methods of Execution, 6 B.U. Pub. Int. L.J. 153 (1996).