- The Washington Times - Saturday, October 6, 2001

Electric chair ruled out in Georgia

ATLANTA Georgia's highest court yesterday ruled that the use of the electric chair to execute condemned inmates was unconstitutional and ordered the state to use lethal injection in all future executions.

In a 4-3 decision, the Supreme Court of Georgia said that death by electrocution inflicted needless physical violence and mutilation on inmates, violating protections against cruel and unusual punishment in the U.S. and Georgia constitutions.

"We hold that death by electrocution, with its specter of excruciating pain and its certainty of cooked brains and blistered bodies, violates the prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment. " Justice Carol Hunstein wrote in the ruling.

Government reports drop in teen smoking

Higher cigarette prices and a cultural shift away from smoking are contributing to a dramatic drop in the number of teen-agers who pick up the habit, experts say.

In just two years, the number of new teen-age smokers fell by a third, the government reported Thursday. Still, there were 783,000 new smokers ages 12 to 17 in 1999, meaning that 2,145 teens began smoking on the average day, according to the National Household Survey on Drug Abuse.

Photographer dies from anthrax

MIAMI A British-born photographer died yesterday after contracting anthrax, a very rare disease that has been identified as a possible agent for biological warfare but which health officials have said was not the result of an assault in this case.

Dr. Larry Bush, an infectious-disease specialist treating Robert Stevens, 53, told reporters the patient died of "multisystem organ failure" as a result of his anthrax infection.

"It was not unexpected," Dr. Bush said.

Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy G. Thompson told reporters Thursday there was no evidence of a biological-warfare assault involving anthrax, a deadly bacterial disease spread by spores and generally confined to livestock.

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