"Judge plans to rule 'very promptly' on executions," is a condensed version of the AP report filed by Brett Barrouquere. It's via KY Post.
A Kentucky judge says he plans to rule "very promptly" on the state's request to lift an injunction barring executions since 2010 and whether it may use a new single-drug method to carry out lethal injections.
Franklin Circuit Judge Phillip Shepherd on Monday described the issues surrounding executions as "a difficult matter" after a 90-minute hearing in Frankfort.
Attorneys for the state asked Shepherd to allow executions to go forward with a new one- or two-drug method. Earlier this year, the state adopted an execution process similar to Ohio's to replace a lethal injection method using three drugs.
An expanded version is available as, "Prosecutors: Execution changes prompted by inmates," via the Lexington Herald-Leader.
Kentucky prosecutors argued Monday that executions in Kentucky should resume because the state changed the way it would carry out lethal injections based on the concerns raised by condemned inmates who sued over the method.
In a 90-minute hearing in Frankfort, Assistant Attorney General Heather Fryman asked Franklin Circuit Judge Phillip Shepherd to lift an injunction barring executions in the state for the last three years. Fryman said the state looked at what the inmates sought to do away with and what other states had successfully done before adopting a lethal injection that uses 3 grams of sodium thiopental or 5 grams of pentobarbital - similar to the method used by Ohio. "We picked the drugs that they asked for," Fryman said.
The court hearing was the latest tick in a decade-long battle over how Kentucky may carry out the court-mandated sentences for the 33 men and one woman awaiting executions in cases that rose to the U.S. Supreme Court, which effectively upheld lethal injections in 2007.
Shepherd halted lethal injections in 2010 as the state prepared to execute 56-year-old Gregory L. Wilson for the 1987 rape, kidnapping and murder of 36-year-old Debbie Pooley in Kenton County. The judge expressed concerns about how the state would determine if an inmate is mentally disabled and whether the use of sodium thiopental, pancuronium bromide and potassium chloride caused an unconstitutional amount of pain and suffering.
Earlier this year, Kentucky revised its regulations to use one drug - 3 grams of sodium thiopental or 5 grams of pentobarbital - and repeat the dose if the inmate has not died within 10 minutes.
In a two-drug execution, the warden may authorize continued injections of 60 milligrams of hydromorphone until the inmate dies, if the initial injection is not deadly. The regulations give the state the option of which method to use depending upon the availability of the drugs. Under the new regulations, inmates are informed seven days before a scheduled execution whether a single drug or two drugs will be used.
Much of the hearing dealt with the potential availability of sodium thiopental and pentobarbital and whether an American manufacturer of those drugs could be found. Multiple states, including Texas, Georgia and Ohio have used those or similar drugs, but at times have also struggled to find a steady supply.
The article notes that Kentucky has conducted three post-Furman executions since 1977.
Earlier coverage of Kentucky lethal injection issues begins at the link.