Mississippi Executions Halted Over Drug Issue; State Files Appeal


A federal judge temporarily blocked Mississippi from carrying out executions, reports the Jackson Clarion-Ledger. U.S. District Judge Henry Wingate issued a temporary restraining order yesterday in a lawsuit challenging the use of compounded drugs in executions. The state Attorney General’s office immediately appealed. Attorney General Jim Hood said, “We are extremely disappointed that the federal court has frustrated the State of Mississippi’s lawful duty to enforce its criminal sentence of capital punishment. Just months ago the United States Supreme Court approved Oklahoma’s method of lethal injection. Mississippi’s method follows that of Oklahoma.”

The lawsuit, filed by the Roderick and Solange MacArthur Justice Center in New Orleans, says Mississippi is one of the last states to use compounded pentobarbital before injecting a death row inmate with a paralytic agent and potassium chloride. “If the compounded pentobarbital does not work to properly anesthetize the prisoner, he will be consciously suffocated to death by the second drug or suffer the burning injection and cardiac arrest produced by the third drug,” said center attorney Jim Craig. Craig said the state doesn’t have compounded pentobarbital in a sterile injectable form.

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