Ohio appeals order rejecting lethal drug process

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The state is appealing a federal judge’s decision that declared Ohio’s new lethal injection process unconstitutional and delayed three upcoming executions.

Lawyers with the Ohio attorney general’s office filed notice with a federal appeals court in Cincinnati Thursday afternoon following the judge’s morning decision.

State lawyers have argued the method, including the use of the sedative midazolam (mih-DAY’-zoh-lam), is constitutional and similar to a system Ohio used successfully several years ago.

Magistrate Judge Michael Merz said the use of midazolam couldn’t pass a constitutional bar of causing “substantial risk of serious harm” previously set by the U.S. Supreme Court in another ruling.

The judge also barred Ohio from using the second and third drugs in the protocol that paralyze inmates and stop their hearts.

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