Appeals court tosses order blocking Mississippi executions

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JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — A federal appeals court has reversed a stay that had blocked the state of Mississippi from carrying out executions.

The 5th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday that a lower court judge ruled incorrectly in August when he blocked the state from executing prisoners.

The opinion by Circuit Judge Jennifer Walker Elrod rejects arguments by death row prisoners that Mississippi’s failure to use a particular kind of drug specified by state law violates their rights. Mississippi and other states can’t easily buy such drugs anymore because manufacturers won’t sell them for executions.

Elrod notes the U.S. Supreme Court recently upheld as constitutional Oklahoma’s plan to use the drugs that Mississippi now plans to use.

She also rejected arguments that Mississippi’s execution protocols are so egregious as to “shock the conscience.”

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