COPY-Fight against executions to focus on Ark. drug - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

COPY-Fight against executions to focus on Ark. drug

By CHUCK BARTELS
Associated Press

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Lawyers for death row inmates say the focus of their effort to block more executions in Arkansas is now on a challenge to a law that allows the Correction Department director to pick the drugs used in lethal injections.

Federal agents seized the state's supply of the sedative sodium thiopental, which had been obtained from overseas. On Friday, defense lawyers said their court fight will shift from use of the sodium thiopental to the power the Legislature has given the Correction Department director.

The Legislature in 2009 approved a law allowing department Director Ray Hobbs to pick which lethal drugs to use. Department spokeswoman Dina Tyler says the agency knows best what protocol to use. But defense lawyer Jeff Rosenzweig says the law gives Hobbs an improper level of authority.

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