Federal Judge to Rule on Execution Protocol

AUGUST 31, 2006 - Posted at 4:42 p.m. CDT

ST. LOUIS, MO - The state of Missouri says its new procedures for executing condemned prisoners should eliminate the need for a federal judge to monitor future executions.

The executions in the state have been on hold until the state can convince a federal judge that its procedures pose no risk of unnecessary pain and suffering to the inmates.

Missouri is the only state that has been ordered to use a board-certified anesthesiologist to assist in executions.  The state proposes using a medical doctor, nurse or EMT because it can't find a willing anesthesiologist.

The state says it is not advocating using a dyslexic surgeon who assisted with dozens of executions in the past.  Judge Fernando Gaitan's ruling could come at any time.

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