A similar lawsuit filed by two other death row inmates is scheduled for trial in April 2007. In June, a federal judge stopped executions in Missouri until the state could change its procedures to ensure that prisoners are not subject to unconstitutional pain and suffering.
Oklahoma law calls for condemned inmates to be injected with a lethal quantity of an ultra-short acting barbiturate in combination with a chemical paralytic agent until they are pronounced dead. Details are left up to the Corrections Department.
Kirby said the warden at Oklahoma State Penitentiary, where inmates are executed, is responsible for the procedure, with input from other department officials. Medical professionals are consulted when needed.
Oklahoma was the first state to choose lethal injection to execute condemned inmates. A total of 37 states use some version lethal injection. Nebraska uses electrocution in its executions.