Following in the footsteps of Ohio, Washington became the second state to adopt a one-drug protocol for lethal injections. The single-drug method replaces the three-drug combination widely used by states, and upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in Baze v. Rees.
Washington's decision was made public in filings with the state's high court in the case of convicted murderer Darold Stenson. The state's Attorney General Rob McKenna filed the disclosure, requesting that the court dismiss Stenson's appeal of his death sentence. McKenna argued that Stenson's constitutional claims are rendered moot by the change in protocol.
Though the state seemingly submitted the one-drug method to circumvent Stenson's constitutional claims, the state maintains that the three-drug cocktail is constitutional. In fact, the three-drug method will remain available to death-row inmates in Washington who request it.
Ohio became the first state to adopt the one-drug method of lethal injection after the botched execution of Rommel Broom. In Broom's case, executioners tried for hours to find an accessible vein, prompting Gov. Ted Strickland to call off the execution. Ohio then made the switch to its one-drug injection, which has since been used in carrying out death sentences of three inmates. Ohio is currently on pace to challenge Texas as the state executing the most inmates in 2010.
[Image via Dirty Bunny.]