Inmates: New Ark. execution law unconstitutional
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Lawyers for six death row inmates have filed a lawsuit challenging Arkansas' new execution law, saying it doesn't ensure that prisoners won't die by cruel and unusual means.
The lawsuit says the inmates were convicted under a law that requires the use of an "ultra-short-acting" barbiturate along with a paralytic agent. Arkansas now intends to use phenobarbital. The lawyers say phenobarbital is slow-acting and has never been used for executions. They claim a mix of a relaxant and phenobarbital could cause an agonizing death for the men - if it kills them at all.
Arkansas' Supreme Court threw out a previous execution law, saying legislators gave too much power to prison officials for carrying out the plan.
A spokesman for the attorney general's office says they're reviewing the lawsuit.Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.