Missouri to Meet Deadline, But May Not Conduct Executions

JULY 14, 2006 - Posted at 8:09 a.m. CDT

ST. LOUIS, MO - The state of Missouri says it will comply with a federal judge's order to revamp its execution procedures by Saturday's deadline.  But it may not be able to conduct any.

Missouri's Corrections Director Larry Crawford says his department can put together a plan, but may not be able to meet its statutory duty to carry out executions.

Crawford says his department has sent letters to hundreds of board-certified anesthesiologists in Missouri and southern Illinois asking if they would be willing to oversee lethal injections, as required by a federal judge's orders last month.

So far, no one has responded.

The medical profession is uncomfortable with such a role.  Doctors risk violating medical ethics if they assist.

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)