An Arizona judge on Sunday ruled that the U.S. Constitution "does not require a pain-free execution" in a ruling rejecting a death-row inmate's request for a delay.
Judge Michael Liburdi of the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona ruled against Frank Atwood, who had requested that his execution scheduled for this Wednesday be delayed. Atwood, who suffers from a degenerative spinal condition that forces him to use a wheelchair, had argued that the state's methods for carrying out the death penalty, which involves strapping him to a gurney, are in violation of the Constitution's protections against cruel and unusual punishment because this would cause him pain.
Liburdi said in his ruling that the state would give Atwood a medical wedge to help remove the pressure caused by lying down, along with other accommodations to help alleviate the pain. He also noted that the Constitution "does not require a pain-free execution."
Atwood has also filed an appeal with the Arizona Supreme Court. A previous request to the Arizona Board of Executive of Clemency was rejected last month.
Atwood was convicted of first-degree murder in the 1984 killing of Vicki Hoskinson. Authorities say she was kidnapped by Atwood, who maintains that he is innocent of the crime. If executed, Atwood would be the first death row inmate to be executed in eight years, since the execution of Clarence Dixon for the 1978 killing of Deana Bowdoin.
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