Indiana can’t use its preferred choice of lethal injection drug after the state Court of Appeals ruled it didn’t use the proper rulemaking procedure.
The state chose a new lethal injection method in 2014 – a cocktail of three drugs that, in combination, has never been used in the United States. The state chose the cocktail without a legally-mandated public input process for new rules or policies.
Death row inmate Roy Lee Ward sued to stop the state from using the new cocktail.
The state argued the Department of Correction, which chose the drug, is excluded from the rulemaking procedures in state law. A trial court agreed and dismissed the case.
But the Court of Appeals sided with Ward. It says the Department of Correction’s decision to choose a new lethal injection method falls under state law’s rulemaking procedures. And the court ruled the legislature didn’t exempt the DOC from that process.
The state now cannot execute anyone on death row unless it either appeals the ruling or goes through the necessary public input process with its current drug.