Executions in Arizona will remain on hold until a case is decided about a drug that's used in executions, according to USA Today
U.S. District Judge Neil Wake dismissed parts of a lawsuit brought by seven death-row inmates and the First Amendment Coalition of Arizona. The plaintiffs brought the lawsuit seeking more information about how Arizona finds lethal-injection drug suppliers.
The drug at issue is midazolam, and attorneys for Arizona said that the state's supply would expire May 31. Drug manufacturer Pfizer announced
that it would only supply seven drugs that could be used in executions, including midazolam, if they were not used in executions.
The suit claims midazolam does not prevent pain in the condemned prisoner.
The case began in 2014 after death-row inmate Joseph Wood's execution using the drug took two hours. Wood's lawyer sued the state's Department of Corrections, saying midazolam, as well as a paralyzing drug used in executions, went against the Eighth Amendment's ban on cruel and unusual punishment.
The judge pointed out that the Arizona Department of Corrections had a history of refusing to abide by his orders and of changing execution methods at the last minute.
"An inmate cannot be expected to raise challenges to the electric chair, for example, if he is told he will face a firing squad," Wake said, according to USA Today.
The judge dismissed the First Amendment Coalition's claims, saying, "The press has no right, not without the court making new law that extends beyond historical practice and legal authority," according to AZFamily.com
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