Arizona Makes Changes After 'Not Botched' Execution

Judge rules that Oklahoma can resume executions
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 23, 2014 2:39 AM CST
Arizona Makes Changes After 'Not Botched' Execution
This undated file photo provided by the Arizona Department of Corrections shows inmate Joseph Rudolph Wood.    (AP Photo/Arizona Department of Corrections, File)

Arizona's execution of Joseph Wood was "not botched," a state-commissioned review has concluded, even though it took almost two hours for him to die. The director of Arizona's Department of Corrections says the lethal injection was "done appropriately and with the utmost professionalism," the Arizona Republic reports, although none of the experts quoted in the review could explain why it took 15 doses of a supposedly lethal cocktail to execute Woods, or why a procedure that usually takes 10 minutes lasted so long. The state now plans to change its lethal injection protocol and use the same three-drug combination that Oklahoma used in the botched execution of Clayton Lockett earlier this year, reports NBC.

Oklahoma hasn't executed anybody since Lockett, but it plans to proceed with four executions early next year after a federal judge ruled that its lethal injection protocol is constitutional, reports the AP. The judge ruled against a group of 21 death row inmates who argued that the use of the sedative midazolam—which Oklahoma was using for the first time in Lockett's execution—could constitute cruel and unusual punishment. Lawyers for the state said the problem in Lockett's execution wasn't the drug but an improperly set IV line, and the judge said he placed "considerable reliance" on Oklahoma to have better procedures in place for the upcoming executions. (More Joseph Wood stories.)

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