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Lawsuit challenges Arizona’s execution methods

A lawsuit claims the Arizona Legislature delegated too much authority to the state Department of Corrections’ director to determine how Death Row inmates are executed.

The suit was filed Wednesday by the Federal Public Defender’s Office on behalf of four inmates including Thomas Paul West, who’s scheduled for execution Tuesday.

The Arizona Republic says the suit notes that state statute dictates how animals are euthanized but not how lethal injection is carried out.

Instead, the suit says state statute allows the execution process to be established by the Corrections director.

After a 2008 U.S. Supreme Court decision on the constitutionality of lethal injection, the Corrections Department and the Public Defender’s Office went through extensive litigation to establish a protocol for executions.

Calls to the DOC for comment weren’t immediately returned.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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