Federal Court Halts Louisiana Execution As State Rushes Out New Execution Process

On February 7, federal District Court Judge James Brady stayed the execution of Christopher Sepulvado in Louisiana because the state failed to provide details about its new execution protocol. "Sepulvado has been trying to determine what the protocol is for years," Judge Brady wrote, "and the State will not provide this information. The intransigence of the State Defendants in failing to produce the protocol requires the Court to issue this order." Sepulvado was scheduled to be executed on Feb. 13, the first non-consensual execution in the state in over 10 years. The judge said, “There is no way that [Sepulvado] could adequately, meaningfully bring an Eighth Amendment challenge if he does not know how the protocol operates.” Louisiana had previously used a 3-drug protocol, but just recently said it planned to use 1 drug, pentobarbital. However, it offered no details about how the drug was purchased, what training was provided to prison staff, or who would carry out the execution. The state later indicated it obtained the drug from Lundbeck, Inc.

Sepulvado was sentened to death for killing his stepson in 1992.

(J. Simerman, "Federal judge halts execution scheduled for next week," Times-Picayune; M. Deslate, "Federal judge delays Louisiana's plan to execute man next week; convicted of killing stepson," The Republic (Associated Press); February 7, 2013). See Lethal Injection and Upcoming Executions.