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Judge orders second revision of Missouri death penalty protocols

[JURIST] A federal judge Tuesday ordered [PDF] the state of Missouri [JURIST news archive] to submit new protocols for carrying out the state death penalty [JURIST news archive] by lethal injection and has refused to authorize executions until revisions are approved. The order by US District Judge Fernando Gaitan [official profile], issued Tuesday, marks the second time that Missouri has had to make revisions after convicted murderer Michael Taylor [NCADP backgrounder] sued the state [case materials], claiming that Missouri's execution procedures were "constitutionally cruel" because an incorrect administration of the drug mixture could lead to severe pain for the inmate. The US Supreme Court [official website] in February refused to vacate [JURIST report] a previous stay of execution for Taylor but also denied certiorari in Taylor's case challenging lethal injection.

In July, Gaitan ordered [JURIST report] a board-certified anesthesiologist to assist in the executions, but state officials were unable to find an appropriate person. Gaitan said he would accept the state's proposal to instead have a physician assist, but said the selected doctor must be in good standing with the Missouri licensing board and cannot be someone who has received disciplinary action from the board. A spokesman for the Missouri Department of Corrections [official website] said the judge's order surpasses what is normally necessary to comply with constitutional standards for death penalties. The deadline for Missouri to submit its revised protocols is October 27. AP has more.

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