Nebraska Court Rejects Lethal Injection Protocol Challenge

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 The lethal injection protocol that was used in 2018 to execute a Nebraska prisoner survived a legal challenge Friday from death penalty opponents who had hoped to overturn it to prevent the state from carrying out capital punishment.

Written By Associated Press Television News | Mumbai | Updated On:
Nebraska court rejects lethal injection protocol challenge

 The lethal injection protocol that was used in 2018 to execute a Nebraska prisoner survived a legal challenge Friday from death penalty opponents who had hoped to overturn it to prevent the state from carrying out capital punishment.

The Nebraska Supreme Court sided with state officials who adopted the new protocol in 2017 to allow the state to resume executions.

Death penalty opponents, including state Sen. Ernie Chambers, alleged in their lawsuit that officials created the protocol without following the necessary state laws and procedures.

The new protocol gives the state corrections director broad authority to decide which drugs to use in executions and how to obtain them. Nebraska’s previous protocol called for three specific drugs, including some that state officials weren’t able to get.

The lawsuit asked a district court judge to halt all planned executions on grounds that the new protocol was invalid. But Lancaster County District Court Judge Lori Maret ruled that the plaintiffs didn’t have the standing to bring the lawsuit because they aren’t on death row and the protocol change didn’t infringe on their legal rights. Chambers and the other plaintiff, the Rev. Stephen Griffith, appealed the case to the Nebraska Supreme Court.

Nebraska and other states have found it increasingly difficult to carry out executions because many drug companies don’t want their products used to kill inmates and are refusing to sell them to correctional departments.

Nebraska officials responded by refusing to identify their supplier, despite releasing such information in the past under the state’s open-record laws. The new protocol allowed them to obtain other drugs that were more readily available, and those drugs were used to execute inmate Carey Dean Moore in August 2018, the first time the state had carried out capital punishment in 21 years.

It’s unlikely the state will carry out another execution anytime soon.

Last year, Corrections Director Scott Frakes acknowledged in a court filing that his agency won’t be able to buy any more of the drugs that were used to execute Moore because the state’s supplier is no longer willing to sell them.

Frakes said he contacted at least 40 potential suppliers in six states, and no one else agreed to provide the drug. Some of the drugs used in Moore’s execution have since expired.

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