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Federal Judge Allows Destruction Of Ohio's Expired Lethal Injection Drugs

Execution chamber in Florida
Doug Smith
Florida Department of Corrections

A federal judge is allowing an Ohio prison pharmacist to destroy the state's supply of expired lethal injection drugs.

The decision by U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael Merz in Dayton on Friday follows the state's request to eliminate the three-drug supply. The state's request was unopposed by lawyers representing death row inmates.

Executions have been on hold in Ohio while the prisons system looks for new supplies of lethal drugs. The legality of Ohio's execution system remains uncertain after a federal appeals court last week overturned a lower court decision that called the method unconstitutional.

Republican Gov. Mike DeWine, who opposed using expired drugs for executions, has ordered a new lethal injection protocol.

The governor says finding new drugs is complicated by concerns that drug companies who supply the state with pharmaceuticals for various purposes will cut off supplies if some drugs are used for executions.