Judge blocks 1st federal execution in 17 years, in latest legal challenge to restarting death penalty

Anti-capital punishment protesters in Terre Haute, Indiana
(Image credit: Scott Olson/Getty Images)

UPDATE: Hours after publishing, the Supreme Court dismissed the injunction and cleared the way for this week's three executions.

A federal judge stepped in Monday to stop the first federal executions since 2003, ruling that the three inmates slated to be put to death this week have a right to argue their concerns about the constitutionality of lethal injection drugs in court. "The public is not served by short-circuiting legitimate judicial process," said U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan in Washington, D.C. The Trump administration immediately appealed the decision, and when the federal appeals court in D.C. declined to overturn the stay, the administration petitioned the Supreme Court.

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