"Bucklew gets day in court; decision could take weeks," is by Emily Priddy of the Southeast Missourian.
Lawyers for the state of Missouri and for convicted murderer Russell Bucklew made their cases in federal appellate court Tuesday, but a decision about whether and how Bucklew should be executed could be several weeks away.
"We presented our argument today," Bucklew's attorney, Cheryl Pilate, said in an email to the Southeast Missourian. "There is no time line for a decision. Could be weeks. Maybe longer."
Bucklew, 46, had been scheduled to die by lethal injection at 12:01 a.m. May 21, but about six hours before his death warrant was set to expire, the U.S. Supreme Court stayed his execution to allow the federal 8th Circuit Court of Appeals more time to review his case.
Bucklew suffers from a rare condition called cavernous hemangioma that causes weakened blood vessels and large vascular tumors that obstruct his airways.
An Emory University medical professor who reviewed Bucklew's medical records has said the tumors could rupture during the execution process, causing him to choke to death on his own blood, or Bucklew's death could be prolonged and painful as a result of either drug interactions or problems with his circulation.
A key issue in the arguments Tuesday was whether Bucklew was obligated to suggest alternatives that would allow the state to execute him without violating his constitutional rights.
St. Louis Public Radio posts, "Appeals Court Hears Two Challenges Brought By Death Row Inmates," by Chris McDaniel.
On Tuesday morning, a federal appeals court heard arguments in two lawsuits brought by inmates on death row against the Department of Corrections, alleging the state's execution methods violate the Eighth Amendment, the constitutional ban on cruel and unusual punishment.
Missouri uses pentobarbital mixed by an anonymous compounding pharmacy in what the state has claimed is a one-drug protocol. A St. Louis Public Radio investigation revealed last week that the state has also been injecting significant amounts of another drug, midazolam, into inmates on death row.
Two cases are before the court: one brought by a consortium of inmates on death row. The other is brought by an inmate whose execution was halted by the U.S. Supreme Court after medical experts examined him, and said his tumors would likely make his execution a grisly affair.