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Judges OKs settlement in Arizona prisoner executions

(AP Photo)

PHOENIX — A federal judge has approved a settlement between the state and a group of condemned prisoners who sued over how Arizona conducts executions.

The agreement limited the power of the Department of Corrections to change execution drugs at the last minute. It also required that drugs be tested before use and barred the state from using expired drugs.

U.S. District Judge Neil Wake signed off on the deal Thursday. It also barred the use of some paralyzing drugs.

The prisoners argued that the state’s execution procedures violated their constitutional rights to be free from cruel and unusual punishment and have due process.

The state already agreed not to again use a sedative called midazolam.

Executions weren’t expected to resume immediately because the state doesn’t have the needed drugs.

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