An independent investigation of the nearly two-hour execution of an Arizona death row inmate is expected to be completed in the next two weeks, attorneys representing the state said Wednesday.
Assistant Attorney General Matthew Binford, who is representing the state in a lawsuit involving the execution of Joseph Wood, said during a court status conference that a report is expected by mid-November.
Binford said the findings will go to Gov. Jan Brewer and to Arizona Department of Corrections director Charles Ryan, who may change the drug protocol for executions based on the report’s recommendations.
Attorneys representing several prisoners and the First Amendment Coalition of Arizona are seeking information about lethal injection methods used by the state.
U.S. District Court Judge Neil Wake asked both sides for input about the need for litigation before the report comes out.
Mark Haddad, a lawyer representing the coalition, said litigation would ensure that evidence such as key witness interviews and electronic and phone communications would be preserved. Haddad further argued that even if the execution drug protocol changes, the state could essentially experiment on inmates without having to be completely transparent or accountable.
“They are free to go back to them even 18 hours before the execution or the day of the execution — as we learned from Mr. Wood,” Haddad said.
It took nearly two hours and 15 doses of injection drugs before Joseph Wood died on July 23.