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Justices Uphold Lethal Injection Procedure

The headline on a statement from the clinic showed how death penalty opponents view the decision: "Nationwide Lethal Injection Challenges to Move Forward."

Roberts sought to head off such interpretations.

"A state with a lethal injection protocol substantially similar to the protocol we uphold today would not create a risk" that would be unconstitutional, he wrote.

In Virginia, the court's decision clears the way for several executions unless Kaine intervenes based on clemency requests. Kevin Green, who killed a south-central Virginia convenience store owner in 1998, is scheduled to be executed May 27, according to the state attorney general's office.

Maryland's highest court ruled in December 2006 that the state's lethal injection procedures had not been properly adopted.

Republican leaders yesterday called on Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) to issue regulations needed to allow executions to resume. But O'Malley, a death penalty opponent, noted that the General Assembly has approved a commission to study the effectiveness of the death penalty as a deterrent and the costs associated with it.

Staff writers William Branigin, Tim Craig and John Wagner contributed to this report.

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