Speed Reads

lethal injection

Federal judge approves Oklahoma's 3-drug lethal injections

A federal judge ruled Oklahoma's lethal injection protocols constitutional Monday, The Associated Press reports.

After Clayton Lockett gasped and writhed on the gurney during a 43-minute execution in April, 21 Oklahoma death row inmates sued over the use of the sedative midazolam. They said the drug risked subjecting them to unconstitutionally cruel and unusual punishment.

After Lockett's execution, the state increased the midazolam dosage five-fold. But medical experts testifying for the death row inmates disagreed with the prison system's assertion that the execution method was thus humane. They argued that the drug still wouldn't properly anesthetize people before the suffocating and heart-stopping drugs were administered.

Oklahoma's next execution is set for Jan. 15.