Last week, the Missouri Supreme Court declined to set execution dates for six inmates until court challenges regarding the state’s execution method are resolved. The decision was a response to an earlier request by Attorney General Chris Koster to the Supreme Court to set execution dates for 19 death row inmates. The attorney general’s request came shortly after Missouri changed its three-drug lethal injection method because of a national shortage of one of the drugs — sodium thiopental.
Missouri’s new protocol uses a single-dose drug called propofol. No state has ever used propofol for executions, prompting a lawsuit in Cole County contending that use of propofol violates the constitutional ban on cruel and unusual punishment. Until the legal questions are answered regarding propofol, the Supreme Court ruled it would be “premature” to set any execution dates.