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Judge denies request over lethal injection process

PHOENIX – A federal judge has turned down a request by defense attorneys
to allow them and reporters to watch more of the state’s execution process.

As it stands, witnesses to executions in Arizona see only an inmate strapped to
a table and covered with a sheet to their chest or neck. Injection sites aren’t
visible most of the time.

Attorneys for death-row inmate Samuel Villegas Lopez, set to be executed June
27, asked federal Judge Neil Wake to allow them and reporters to see the
execution team conduct the actual injection.

They argue that they can’t be certain that an inmate is free from unnecessary
pain unless the injection process is unveiled.

Wake turned down the request Wednesday, saying the attorneys hadn’t proven that
there was substantial risk that Lopez could experience cruel and unusual
punishment.