Stay of execution issued; judge critical of repeated protocol changes

A federal judge in Jefferson City has stayed tonight’s execution of Joseph Paul Franklin. Judge Nanette Laughry says “serious concerns” have been raised about the new drug protocol to be used for the executions.

The judge says Franklin “has been afforded no time to research the risk of pain associated with the…new protocol, the quality of the pentobarbital provided, and the record of the source of the pentobarbital.”

Laughery says Franklin has not “unnecessarily delayed” bringing his case to the federal court. She says the corrections department has changed the protocol three times in less than two months, the most recent time just four days ago. She says “details of the execution protocol have been illusive at best.”

A spokesman for Corrections Director George Lombardi said shortly after 5 p.m. that no stand-down had been ordered at the Bonne Terre prison where the execution is to take place. An Attorney General’s spokesman would not comment on whether Attorney General Chris Koster was moving to dissolve the stay.