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June 27, 2012

Arizona scheduled to conduct a more transparent execution

As reported in this AP article, headlined "Arizona inmate to be executed in new open process," folks are today literally going to see the impact of a media lawsuit concerning state execution protocols.  Here is how the piece starts:

Witnesses expect to be able to see prison officials inject a lethal drug into a condemned inmate for the first time in Arizona history on Wednesday, when the state is scheduled to execute its fourth prisoner of the year.  Arizona opened up the process after a federal judge recently sided with The Associated Press and other news organizations in Idaho to allow witnesses full viewing access to lethal injections.

Until now, witnesses from the news media, the state and victims' family members walked into the death chamber at the state prison in Florence after the inmates had been injected and covered with a sheet up to their chest or neck.  Once the witnesses were in place, the drugs then coursed through the inmates' veins.  Now witnesses will see the actual injection, something that defense attorneys sought in an effort to ensure inmates don't experience any unnecessary pain.

Samuel Villegas Lopez is set to be Arizona's fourth inmate to die by a single-drug lethal injection.  Two more condemned prisoners whose appeals are nearing their end could be executed by the end of the year, which would put the state on pace to match its busiest year for executions and among the busiest death-penalty states in the nation.

Lopez was sentenced to die for the brutal rape and murder of a 59-year-old Phoenix woman in 1986. Of the 126 inmates on Arizona's death row, only five have been there longer than him.

June 27, 2012 at 09:00 AM | Permalink

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