Arizona's Vow Over Execution Drug Questioned

Oct 20, 2016

Credit AP/Ric Feld

 A judge presiding over a lawsuit that protests how Arizona carries out the death penalty extracted promises in court from the state Wednesday that it won't use the sedative midazolam in future executions.

Lawyers for the state are seeking to dismiss the lawsuit's claim that midazolam can't ensure that condemned inmates won't feel the pain caused by another drug in a three-drug execution protocol.

The state said it won't use the sedative in the future even if it finds a new supply.

U.S. District Judge Neil Wake said the state's decision to voluntarily end its midazolam use in executions could be changed in the future by a state prisons director or a governor.

Executions in Arizona will remain on hold until the lawsuit is resolved.