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For a second time, judge keeps Missouri executions on hold


St. Louis, MO – A federal judge has ruled for the second time that Missouri's death penalty procedures are unconstitutional.

The ruling Monday by Judge Fernando Gaitan confirms a similar decision from September.

In the first ruling, Gaitan said the existing protocol could subject Missouri inmates to an unreasonable risk of cruel and unusual punishment.

Governor Matt Blunt said Tuesday the state will continue to appeal.

"Through technicalities, a federal judge is essentially trying to overturn our death penalty, at least make it impossible to administer the death penalty," Blunt said.

In September, Gaitan ordered the state to revamp its execution protocol, and have an anesthesiologist oversee the mixing of the lethal drugs.

After failing to find a doctor, the state asked Gaitan to reconsider his decision.

Executions in Missouri remain on hold.