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21 Mo. death-row inmates sue over new execution drug

21 death-row prisoners are suing the director of Missouri’s Corrections Department over its new lethal injection drug.

Director George Lombardi announced last month that Missouri would be the first in the nation to replace its three-drug protocol in favor of using the anesthetic Propofol for capital punishment.

In clinical use, the drug is sometimes known to cause pain upon injection. John Simon, an attorney for three of the plaintiffs, says a dose large enough to cause death would almost guarantee suffering.

“It creates more than a risk of severe pain and it violates the cruel and unusual punishments clause of the 8th Amendment to the United States Constitution," Simon said.

Missouri switched to Propofoldue to a shortage of the anesthetic, sodium thiopental, which was used in the three-drug cocktail.

A spokesman for the Department of Corrections declined to comment on the new lawsuit.


Follow Joseph Leahy on Twitter: @joemikeleahy