A federal appeals court has revived an Alabama death row inmate's challenge of his state's new 3-drug lethal injection protocol.
The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday reversed a judge's decision that dismissed Thomas Arthur's appeal.
Deputy Alabama Attorney General Clay Crenshaw said the 11th Circuit ruling does not automatically stop Arthur's execution scheduled for March 29 at Holman Prison in Atmore. Defense attorneys still must ask a court to grant a stay.
Arthur's attorneys did not immediately say what their next move would be.
Crenshaw said the state will file a petition asking that the entire 11th Circuit reconsider the court's decision Thursday.
Arthur is set to be executed for the 1982 murder-for-hire killing of Muscle Shoals businessman Troy Wicker.
His attorneys claimed that Alabama's decision to use a new sedative called pentobarbital as part of its 3-drug execution combination could be cruel and unusual punishment. State attorneys pointed to successful executions where pentobarbital was used.
The 3-judge panel's decision said the judge who dismissed Arthur's appeal should have considered whether the swap constituted a "significant change" to Alabama's execution protocol.
(source: Associated Press)