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Lethal Injection

Botched Execution of Clayton Lockett Spawns New Legal Challenge

The botched execution of Clayton Lockett has spawned a new lawsuit accusing Oklahoma prison officials of shoddy lethal injection practices. The suit, brought by a group of death-row prisoners, says that one of the drugs used in Lockett's case — midazolam — is unsuitable for use in executions and that the execution teams lack expertise, backup plans and supplies.

Lockett, a convicted rapist and murderer, appeared to regain consciousness and writhe in pain during his April 29 execution, which was halted — but not in time to save his life. Executions in Oklahoma are temporarily on hold while the state reviews the Lockett case.

Megan McCracken, an expert working with the death-row inmates, said previous lawsuits challenging execution procedures have been largely discounted by the courts. "Now, the gruesome execution of Mr. Lockett clearly illustrates the state's deeply flawed execution procedures," she said.

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