http://www.decaturdaily.com/decaturdaily/news/040330/death.shtml Justices take up Alabama case on execution method WASHINGTON The Supreme Court used the case of Alabama death row inmate David Larry Nelson for a stark discussion about execution methods, and whether federal judges can consider last-minute challenges to punishment. Nelson had asked to be sent to Alabama's electric chair. But when his date with the executioner came, the chair was no longer in use. His medical condition would make the new punishment of lethal injection unconstitutionally cruel unless special precautions were taken, lawyer Bryan Stevenson of Montgomery told justices. Because of the condition of his veins damaged by drug use it might be impossible to insert an intravenous line without a type of surgery, Stevenson said. Justices peppered Stevenson and Alabama's lawyer with questions about how his death sentence would be carried out, with the possibility of prison staff cutting into his neck or thigh to get to a good vein.