A state clemency board already has decided against intervening in the case of Daniel Wayne Cook, who was convicted of raping, torturing and strangling two men in 1987.
Cook, 49, is scheduled to die by injection Tuesday at the state prison in Florence.
Dale Baich of the Arizona Federal Public Defender’s Office said he filed paperwork asking the U.S. Supreme Court to review Cook’s claim that his state post-conviction lawyer didn’t effectively represent him in those proceedings.
Baich said another motion asks the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco to review claims that the drugs used in Arizona’s executions are illegally imported and that there could be problems with their efficiency.
In the effort to stop Cook’s death sentence altogether, his attorneys told the Arizona Board of Executive Clemency that he suffered from extreme physical and sexual abuse during childhood, and only recently was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and brain dysfunction.
The board discussed the severe sexual and psychological abuse that Cook suffered as a child, but ruled Thursday that his crime 24 years ago was too severe to recommend he get a life sentence instead.
Cook’s lawyers have argued that the state broke federal law when it imported drugs used in its injection process, such as sedative sodium thiopental and the muscle relaxant pancuronium bromide, because they were listed in forms as being intended for “animals (food processing),” rather than humans. His lawyers say the sodium thiopental could be ineffective, leading to severe pain during an execution.
Baich said Cook shouldn’t be executed until the state implements a new single-drug method of lethal injection, a change that Arizona Department of Corrections Director Charles Ryan recently announced because of “perceived concerns” about the current three-drug method.
Assistant Attorney General Kent Cattani has denied that Arizona broke the law. He said the paperwork mistake came from a clerical error by the federal Food and Drug Administration.
The state is switching to one drug because of a U.S. shortage of sodium thiopental, not because of any alleged ineffectiveness, according to Cattani.
Cook suffered numerous rapes at the hands of family members and a group home worker, was burned with cigarettes and was forced to have sex with his sister, according to attorneys and court documents.
Cook was convicted of two counts of first-degree murder in the gruesome July 1987 killings of Kevin Swaney, 16, and Carlos Cruz-Ramos, 26, in Lake Havasu City.