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Washington becomes second state to adopt single-drug lethal injection protocol

[JURIST] Washington Attorney General Rob McKenna [official profile] filed a motion with the state Supreme Court [official website] Tuesday announcing the adoption of a single-drug execution method. The state had previously used a three-drug cocktail to lethally inject those sentenced to be executed. The change [AP report] comes as three death row inmates are challenging Washington's previous execution method that included the use of sodium thiopental, pancuronium bromide, and potassium chloride. The single-drug system will involve only the sodium thiopental. The state Supreme Court previously issued a stay [AP report] on the executions to allow more time to review the system. The Washington Department of Corrections [official website] is currently rewriting the state's execution policy Individuals sentenced to death can still choose the three-drug method or can choose to be hanged.

Washington is the second state to make the move to a single-drug execution protocol. Ohio conducted the first single-drug execution [JURIST report] in December after the US Supreme Court [official website] rejected a last-minute stay application. Ohio became the first state to adopt [JURIST report] the single-drug protocol in November. The state undertook a review of its lethal injection practices in September after the planed execution of inmate Romell Broom failed [JURIST reports] when a suitable vein for the drugs' administration could not be found. The new protocol consists of the intravenous injection of a single anesthetic, and provides for the intramuscular injection of two other drugs if an appropriate vein cannot be found.

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