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Death Row Inmate Sues over Use of Single Shot

By Kamika Dunlap on April 09, 2010 3:11 PM

Ohio death row inmate Darryl Durr has filed a lawsuit against the state, claiming its new single shot lethal injection method violates federal prescription drug laws.

Durr is arguing the use of the drugs violates the federal Controlled Substances and Food & Drug acts, according to the Columbus Dispatch. His lawsuit claims that drugs to be administered under the single shot protocol in his execution are illegal.

Durr was sentenced to die for raping and strangling a 16-year-old Elyria girl in 1988.

As previously discussed, Ohio became the first to adopt a new single drug lethal injection protocol. The state switched to a single drug, rather than a three drug cocktail in its death penalty procedures.

The single shot lethal injection procedure according to the New York Times uses a "massive dose of an anesthetic. If that fails, prison officials will then inject two chemicals -- midazolam and hydromorphone -- directly into the inmate's muscles."

Ken Biros became the first person in the U.S. to die by lethal injection with a single shot drug. Since then, Vernon Smith was the second death row inmate executed using a single shot lethal injection.

According to the state, Durr's claim that the state's lethal injection chemicals violate federal prescription drug laws is farfetched.

The assistant attorney general says Durr does not have a legal basis to tie his claims to the federal oversight of drugs used to put inmates to death.

About 25 years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected a similar argument but Durr believes he's raising new issues. The death row inmate is asking U.S. District Judge Michael Watson in Columbus to act quickly to hear his claim.

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