Lawsuit over Ark. lethal injection process continues

Fight against Ark. execution continues with federal lawsuit

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) -- The state has started making its case in the lawsuit over its lethal injection process.

During Wednesday's hearing, the state tried to support its use on a controversial drug, as well as the way it treats inmates during an execution. Lawyers for the state began by trying to defend the use of Midazolam, the first of three drugs in the injection cocktail.

It's a controversial sedative that's blamed for botched executions in a handful of other states. The state brought in a doctor of pharmacy from South Florida, who testified that the state uses the right amount of Midazolam.

He said in part, "It does an excellent job of providing a rapid induction of general anesthesia. It is fast, but also fleeting."

The attorneys for the death-row inmates countered with their own expert, a trauma medical director for a children's hospital in Ohio. He claimed Midazolam isn't good at knocking someone out, which is how it's used in executions.

He said it's good for reducing anxiety, "but it would be malpractice for me to do something like an appendectomy with Midazolam as the sole anesthetic". Both sides spent more than 3 hours questioning the man who runs the health care program for the Department of Correction, asking how the state got its drugs, how the inmates would be treated, and who will be involved in the executions. The director of ADC took the stand late Wednesday night, and could continue to testify Thursday.

Another full day is expected on Thursday. They'll return at 8:30, and could spend another 12 hours in the courtroom.

© 2017 KTHV-TV


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