Friday, December 09, 2022

Arizona prisoner appeals to court to delay execution

PHOENIX ( Associated Press) – A lawyer for a death row prisoner in Arizona is urging an appeals court to annul Wednesday’s execution of his client, who was convicted in the 1984 murder of an 8-year-old girl , pleading the condemned person would make it excruciatingly painful for him to tie a gurney to his back before administering the lethal injection because of the spinal condition.

In a hearing Monday before the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco, an attorney for Frank Atwood also questioned whether the state has met a requirement that the lethal injection drug expiration date come after the execution date.

And even though he didn’t choose lethal gas as his execution method, Atwood is also challenging Arizona’s protocol for gas chamber execution. His lawyers say Atwood has the right to choose between methods of execution that are constitutional and that the state should change its lethal gas from hydrogen cyanide gas to nitrogen gas because nitrogen would produce painless deaths.

Prosecutors say Atwood is trying to legally postpone his execution indefinitely. They say Atwood’s challenge to the state’s cyanide gas execution procedures is controversial, as execution would be by lethal injection.

Last month, Atwood refused to choose between lethal injection or a gas chamber, leading him to death by lethal injection, the state’s default execution method.

Atwood, who is to be hanged in Florence’s state prison for his murder sentence in the murder of 8-year-old Vicki Hoskinson, lost on all those arguments in a lower court ruling issued over the weekend and appealed those rulings on the 9th. circuit Court.

Officials have said Atwood abducted Hoskinson, whose remains were discovered in the desert northwest of Tucson, about seven months after his disappearance. According to court records, experts could not determine a cause of death from the remains.

Atwood says he is innocent.

Atwood’s lawyers have argued that the state’s death penalty would be subject to their client, who has a spinal degenerative condition that left him in a wheelchair if he could lie on his back during his lethal injection. Was tied to a gurney during, then to excruciating pain.

Prosecutors say Atwood may have eased the pain caused by lying on his back by elevating himself with a pillow and using the tilt function on the execution table. Atwood’s legal team rejected a proposal from the state to allow one of the condemned man’s legs to remain free during execution as another way of easing his pain.

“The state here is not trying to subject Mr. Atwood to any unnecessary pain,” said Jeffrey Sparks, an attorney representing the state. “It’s trying to accommodate the claims it’s raising, while still making a valid execution.”

Atwood’s lawyers have questioned whether the compound pentobarbital used in the execution meets pharmaceutical standards. “The test (of mixed drug) cannot be relied upon,” said Joseph Perkovic, one of Atwood’s attorneys.

Even though he did not choose a gas chamber, Atwood challenged the state’s lethal gas protocol which calls for the use of hydrogen cyanide gas, which had been used in some previous American executions and was used by the Nazis to kill 865,000 Jews in the Auschwitz concentration camp alone. was used to kill. His lawyers say hydrogen cyanide gas is unconstitutional and causes excruciating levels of pain in hanging.

His lawyers argued that he had the right to choose between methods of execution that are constitutional and that the state should change its lethal gas from hydrogen cyanide gas to nitrogen gas because nitrogen would produce painless deaths. Arizona prosecutors say the nitrogen execution is “unused and untested.”

Arizona, California, Missouri and Wyoming are the only states that have decades-old lethal-gas execution laws still on the books. Arizona, which executed the last gas chamber in the United States more than two decades ago, is the only state with a functioning gas chamber.

In recent years, Oklahoma, Mississippi and Alabama have passed laws allowing execution with nitrogen gas, at least in some circumstances, although experts say this has never been done and no state has established a protocol. Haven’t installed that will allow this.

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