Judge Again Rules Death-Penalty Procedure is Unconstitutional

OCTOBER 17, 2006 - Posted at 3:34 p.m. CDT

KANSAS CITY, MO - A federal judge has ruled for the second time that Missouri's death penalty procedures are unconstitutional.

The ruling yesterday by Judge Fernando Guitan in Kansas City confirms a ruling he made in September that the death penalty protocol could subject Missouri's inmates to an unreasonable risk of cruel and unusual punishment.

The earlier ruling halted all executions in Missouri.

The issue is how painful lethal injection can be if the three drugs used are not given correctly.

The state's attorneys had asked Gaitan to rule quickly, so they could file an appeal if he ruled against them.

Gaitain's ruling comes in the case of Michael Taylor, one of two men convicted of raping and killing Kansas City teenager Ann Harrison in 1989.

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