March 6 (UPI) — Arizona announced this week it’s found a supplier of pentobarbital, a sedative used in lethal injections, and is prepared to resume executions after a nearly seven-year hiatus.
Attorney General Mark Brnovich notified Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey that the procurement “removes all barriers” for the state to carry out executions.
“I now urge you to act without delay, so Arizona may begin the process of securing the required pentobarbital,” Brnovich wrote in a letter to the governor. “We must uphold the rule of law and respect court-ordered sentences.
“It is our solemn obligation to all victims of heinous crimes, their families and our communities, some of whom have been waiting for decades, for justice to be served.”
Brnovich said that of the more than 100 people on death row in Arizona, 20 have exhausted their appeals and could be the subject of new death warrants. It’s unclear what, if any, action the inmates and their attorneys may take to challenge the resumption of executions.
“We will continue to assess the situation as more information becomes available, particularly with regard to safety and efficacy of the drugs, and the readiness of the department,” said Dale Baich of the Federal Public Defender’s office for the District of Arizona.
Arizona last carried out an execution on July, 23, 2014, that of Joseph Wood. It took 15 doses of a new combination of drugs — midazolam and hydromorphone — and 2 hours for Wood to die.
He was the second inmate to be given the two-drug cocktail after Arizona lost its European supplier of pentobarbital. The European Union voted in 2011 to prohibit the sale of the drug to the United States because of its use in executions.
After Wood’s death, the state decided to no longer use the midazolam and hydromorphone combination of drugs, effectively implementing a moratorium on executions until an alternate drug cocktail could be legally secured.
Arizona did not reveal the new supplier of the pentobarbital it plans to use going forward.