BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — A federal judge’s order on Monday bars Louisiana from carrying out any death sentences for at least one more year.
At the request of state authorities, U.S. District Judge Shelly Dick agreed to impose a 12-month extension in an order temporarily staying all executions in Louisiana.
A lawsuit challenging the state’s lethal injection protocols has prohibited Louisiana from carrying out any death sentences since 2014. Its last execution was in 2010.
Drug shortages have forced Louisiana’s corrections department to rewrite its execution plan several times since 2010. Under the current execution protocols, the state’s primary method is a single-drug injection of pentobarbital, a powerful sedative. The alternative method is a two-drug combination of the painkiller hydromorphone and the sedative midazolam. The corrections department has none of those drugs in its inventory, according to department spokesman Ken Pastorick.
In a court filing last Wednesday, an attorney for the state said litigating the case now would be “a waste of resources and time.” Jeffrey Cody, the state’s lawyer, asked Judge Dick to extend the court-ordered halt in executions for one additional year “because the facts and issues involved in this proceeding continue to be in a fluid state.”
Dick’s order suspends the litigation through at least July 18, 2019.
Louisiana has 71 inmates on death row. The state’s last execution was in January 2010, when prison officials put to death Gerald Bordelon, who was convicted of killing his 12-year-old stepdaughter in 2002.