Trial begins over Arkansas’ use of sedative in executions

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A trial has begun over Arkansas’ use of a sedative in executions that critics say doesn’t render inmates fully unconscious, two years after the state raced to put eight inmates to death before its batch of the drug expired.

An attorney for death row inmates challenging Arkansas’ use of midazolam in executions told a federal judge Tuesday that the state’s lethal injection process causes condemned inmates to feel as though they’re being lit on fire.

An attorney for the state argued that the inmates have fallen far short of proving the state’s execution process is unconstitutional.

Arkansas executed four of the eight inmates in 2017. Courts halted the other four executions.

The trial is expected to last two weeks and will revisit two of those executions, which inmates’ attorneys say were problematic.

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