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Irick v. Ray, 10-6436

Death-row inmate's challenge to the Tennessee's lethal injection execution protocol

Irick v. Ray, 10-6436, concerned a death-row inmate's 42 U.S.C. section 1983 suit, claiming that the state of Tennessee's lethal injection execution protocol violates the Eighth Amendment's prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment.  In affirming the district court's dismissal of the suit as time-barred by statute of limitations, the court held that the district court properly applied Cooey II to determine that the statute of limitations began to run either in 1989 when the inmate's direct review process was final, or in 2000 when lethal injection became the presumptive method of execution in Tennessee.

As the court wrote: "In Cooey v. Strickland (Cooey II), 479 F.3d 412, 421-22 (6th Cir. 2007), reh'g denied en banc, 489 F.3d 775 (6th Cir. 2007), we held that the statute of limitations for a constitutional challenge to the method of execution, brought under 42 U.S.C. section 1983, begins to run either 1) upon the conclusion of direct review in the state court or the expiration of time for seeking such review, or 2) when the particular method of execution is adopted by the state."

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