The doctor who supervised Missouri’s lethal injections for more than a decade will no longer be allowed to participate, a federal judge has ruled. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch said that Dr. Alan Doerhoff testified anonymously in federal court in Kansas City on June 5 that dyslexia caused him at times to confuse numbers, give inconsistent testimony, and call drugs by the wrong name. U.S. District Judge Fernando Gaitan Jr. found the testimony so troubling that he ordered a temporary halt to executions, saying he had concerns about the doctor’s qualifications and whether Missouri’s condemned might be subjected to unconstitutionally cruel punishment.
Gaitan has given the state until Oct. 27 to submit a new lethal-injection protocol to better ensure that the state’s three-drug execution method does not violate an inmates’ constitutional freedom from cruel and unusual punishment. On Tuesday, the judge issued eight requirements if Missouri officials wished to continue using lethal injection. Brian Hauswirth, spokesman for the Missouri Department of Corrections, said the state had little objection to Gaitan’s ban of Doerhoff. But he said the state continued to believe its execution protocol was humane and constitutional, and that officials are “reviewing legal options” to challenge Gaitan’s order.