PHOENIX — Arizona is leading a coalition of more than a dozen states supporting the federal protocol for executing death row inmates amid an an injunction halting executions.
Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich's office says the case started after multiple death-row inmates challenged the Federal Bureau of Prisons' execution protocol. The challenges were consolidated by the District Court for the District of Columbia.
The district court reportedly issued an injunction after finding the federal government didn't have authority to create the protocol and violated the Administrative Procedures Act.
"The D.C. Circuit rejected the U.S. Department of Justice's request for a stay of the injunction, which would have allowed the executions to proceed, so the federal government brought an emergency stay request to the U.S. Supreme Court," according to a media release from the AG's office.
Arizona led the coalition filing, with the group "asking the nation's high court to review a recent lower court ruling... where the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals refused to stay an injunction preventing the executions of federal prisoners," according to the AG.
Before the injunction was filed, the first execution by the federal government since 2003 was set to take place on Monday, December 9.
"We have an obligation to uphold the rule of law and ensure death sentences are carried out," said Brnovich, in a media release. "We cannot become overly focused on the convicted criminals and lose sight of the innocent victims. An execution cannot bring them back, but it can help provide peace and closure for their loved ones and our community. The ultimate crime deserves the ultimate punishment because it's what justice demands."
The injunction, according to the states involved, "undermines state interests in the finality of lawful sentences and in protecting crime victims and their families against the psychological trauma caused by unreasonable delays."
They also say the dose of the drug used to carry out the executions is "regarded as one of the most humane methods of execution by lethal injection."