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Judge says Missouri must revise execution plan again

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By AP/KWMU

Kansas City, MO. – A federal judge said Tuesday that Missouri doesn't need to hire a board-certified anesthesiologist to assist in lethal injections, but the state still must revise its death penalty protocols.

District Judge Fernando Gaitan in Kansas City gave the state until Oct. 27 to submit a new procedure for executing inmates. It will be the second revision the state has been required to submit.

Gaitan said he has halted executions until he was convinced that lethal injections pose no risk of pain and suffering. The case arose when convicted murderer Michael Taylor sued the state, claiming his scheduled execution in February would be unconstitutionally cruel.

Taylor said he was concerned that if a cocktail of drugs is not given correctly, an inmate could be in "torturous" pain but paralyzed and unable to show it.

Gaitan had previously said that he wanted the state to hire the anesthesiologist to mix the lethal drugs and oversee or monitor the execution process. But the state said it could not find anyone for the job, and instead suggested hiring a specially trained physician.

In the ruling Tuesday, Gaitan said he would accept that plan, but that the state must select a physician in good standing with the Missouri licensing board and who has not faced any disciplinary action from the board.

Department of Corrections spokesman Brian Hauswirth said the department was reviewing the ruling and its legal options and would work with the attorney general's office on how to continue.

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