As federal executions are set to resume in Terre Haute, here's what the process involves

The government has three federal prisoners set to be executed in Terre Haute next week. Here's what that process involves.

Posted: Jul 9, 2020 5:52 PM
Updated: Jul 14, 2020 9:57 AM

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) - The government has three federal prisoners set to be executed in Terre Haute next week.

The last one happened in 2003. At that time, the government used a three-drug cocktail for lethal injections.

We talked with the Death Penalty Information Center ahead of these executions.

The executive director says a lawsuit has been pending for more than a decade challenging the three-drug cocktail. The lawsuit outlined a timeline for what was supposed to happen under a new protocol.

Last year, the Trump administration announced it was resuming these executions with a new protocol. It involves a single drug called Pentobarbital.

The center says the administration circumvented the process.

LINK | EXECUTIONS AND COVID-19

"The government chose individuals, not in the lawsuit as targets for death warrants so the federal court wouldn't have to review protocol. But new prisoners joined that lawsuit," Robert Dunham, from the Death Penalty Information Center told us.

After much back and forth, the center says the Supreme Court opted not to rule if the government followed the law in the new protocol.

Other motions for the prisoners are also on-going.

"No matter what happens, it'll be very dramatic," Dunham said.

The new lethal injection protocol has a precise outline. We found the addendum filed in court, which has an effective date of July 2019.

LINK | THREE EXECUTIONS SET FOR TERRE HAUTE'S FEDERAL PRISON NEXT WEEK - HERE'S WHAT THEY WERE CONVICTED OF DOING

Not less than 14-days before the execution, the Bureau of Prisons is supposed to select the personnel involved.

There are to be three sets of numbered and labeled syringes. One of those sets is used in carrying out the death sentence. Two sets are available as a backup.

About 30 minutes before the execution, the prisoner will arrive in the execution room, and be restrained to the table. After that, those involved will attach a cardiac monitor and insert a line for the solutions to be administered intravenously.

There will be witnesses to these executions if they happen as planned. This includes the media.

News 10's Heather Good has been selected for at least one of these executions.

The prisoners had to propose a different method of execution in their lawsuit challenging the new protocol. They proposed adding an opioid to the cocktail or using a firing squad.

The government responded saying the prisoners don't meet the standard for a "method of execution challenge."

Three prisoners are set to be executed in Terre Haute's federal prison next week. This will be the first execution there in 17-years. Do you support executions resuming or are you against it?

Posted by WTHI-TV on Monday, July 6, 2020
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