Eighteen condemned inmates say in new court filings that the executions of four men in Arkansas last year exposed problems that should render the state's lethal injection procedure unconstitutional.
Citing witness accounts of what happened in the execution chamber, the inmates' lawyers say it was never clear whether the Arkansas Department of Correction followed its guidelines. They said there was no way to tell when each drug was administered and that it wasn't clear an attendant performed proper consciousness checks on each inmate.
Arkansas uses midazolam to sedate inmates at the start of its executions. The lawyers said late Monday it would be unconstitutionally cruel to subsequently shut down an inmate's lungs and heart if the prisoner was conscious.
Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge's office said the inmates were trying to delay justice.