Ariz. says it has necessary drugs to carry out executions
State says it has midazolam, vecuronium bromide and potassium chloride on-hand and that it plans on using that combination when executions resume
By Astrid Galvan
TUCSON, Ariz. — The state of Arizona says it has a three-drug combination available to use in executions once they resume.
In a federal court notice filed Tuesday, the state says it has midazolam, vecuronium bromide and potassium chloride on-hand and that it plans on using that combination when executions resume. It's also seeking to obtain sodium thiopental, a drug that's banned in the U.S. The FDA has seized a $27,000 shipment of the drug in July, which the state is appealing.
The notice was filed after a federal judge last week said he wouldn't resume a civil rights lawsuit against the state until it revealed which execution drugs it had in its possession.
Arizona attorneys have requested that the lawsuit, filed in June 2014 on behalf of several death row inmates, be resumed after it was put on hold last year through an agreement by both parties. The state can't perform executions until the suit is resolved.
The death row inmates seek information about which drugs and drug suppliers the state planned on using in executions, which the Department of Corrections had refused to release.
Arizona and other death penalty states have struggled to obtain lethal injection drugs after European companies stopped supplying them several years ago. Sodium thiopental, one of those drugs, is banned in the U.S.
Executions were put on hold following the July 2014 death of convicted killer Joseph Rudolph Wood, who was administered 15 doses of midazolam and a painkiller and who took over 90 minutes to die.
His attorney, Dale Baich, says the execution was botched.
Since then, the Department of Corrections has issued new protocols that include four different drug combinations that can be used in executions.
But Baich said the state shouldn't use midazolam at all anymore.
"The state's decision to use midazolam as part of a three-drug formula and continue to experiment in carrying out executions is problematic," Baich said. "Arizona should know better and not use this drug again."