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Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Arizona Getting Criticism for Execution Method

From azcentral.com: Arizona is gearing up to resume executions after a nearly seven-year hiatus. Another Arizona death-row inmate recently lost his last appeal. A third may be extradited from West Virginia.

But as Arizona lapsed in executions, lethal injection, its preferred method, has come under scrutiny as possibly cruel and inhumane.

In fact, a last-minute motion for reprieve filed on Comer's behalf by a Tucson capital-punishment watchdog group raised the risk of extreme suffering as grounds for a stay of execution.

The Arizona Supreme Court refused to consider the motion.

Of the 37 states that use lethal injection as a means of execution, more than a dozen have either granted stays or have completely halted executions because of legal or ethical challenges.

The Arizona Department of Corrections does not reveal the exact prescriptions and protocols of its lethal-injection procedures.

"Because of the lack of standards provided for in the statute, the lethal-injection process subjects condemned prisoners to significant and utterly unnecessary risks that they will be tortured to death," said public defender Victoria Washington, who, to no avail, has filed motions about the potential cruelty of lethal injection. Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]

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