Indiana didn't follow necessary procedures when it obtained its current experimental lethal injection drugs, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled last week, which means the state can't execute any prisoners for now.
The state will have to either appeal the decision with the state's Supreme Court or hold public hearings before it can move forward with any executions, the Indy Star reported.
Opponents of the new injection drugs said death row prisoners did not want to be executed with experimental drugs, especially since there have been several botched executions in recent years.
“Even though they’re condemned to death, they still have rights,” said attorney David Frank, who argued the case against the state, the Indy Star reported.
The ruling also says state officials must seek input from the governor and the state attorney general before they can change drugs for lethal injections.
The combination of methohexital, potassium chloride, and pancuronium bromide has not been used by state or federal officials to execute a prisoner, the Indy Star noted.
The state attorney general’s office said in a statement it was “disappointed” with the decision and is considering its next step, the newspaper said.
Frank said the court’s decision brings accountability into state procedures for executions.
“It’s not saying you can’t execute people, but before you do that, bring what you are doing out of the shadows, and be accountable to the public,” he told the Indy Star.
Roy Lee Ward, a death row inmate, filed a lawsuit against the state in 2015 that argued the DOC didn’t follow proper procedures. Ward was sentenced to death in 2002 for raping and killing a 15-year-old girl.
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