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Execution-method changes called unconstitutional

By Associated Press
Published On: Jul 15 2013 01:51:33 PM MDT
LETHAL INJECTION
HELENA, Mont. -

The attorneys for a Montana death-row inmate say the state's revised execution procedure still puts condemned inmates at risk of unnecessary suffering.
    
The Department of Corrections changed the state's procedure in January after a judge ruled it unconstitutional in a lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of inmate Ronald Allen Smith.
    
The agency switched from a three-drug to a two-drug injection and established qualifications for the person setting the injections.
    
It also changed the procedure to confirm the inmate is unconscious before the second drug is injected.
    
On Friday, Smith attorney Ron Waterman asked District Judge Jeffrey Sherlock to rule the changes unconstitutional.
    
Waterman says a new drug named in the revised policy does not comply with the law and no other state uses a two-drug protocol.