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Oral Arguments Canceled In Supreme Court Case Challenging Fla.'s Execution Drugs

Florida Department of Corrections

The Florida Supreme Court has canceled oral arguments that were scheduled this month in a capital punishment case challenging the state’s three-drug execution protocol. The lawyer for the condemned man says she does not believe the court has enough evidence to rule on whether the drugs cause extreme pain.

Death-row inmate Askari Muhammad is appealing his death sentence based in part on the state’s new execution drug, midazolam. His lawyer, Linda McDermott, argues it can cause extreme pain—that’s the same argument made in pending death row cases across the state.

"There is substantial risk of harm at this point if Florida does continue to use that protocol," she says.

McDermott says she’s disappointed she won’t get the chance to argue before the high court.

"I would think that they’d have some questions about that," she says.

She says, if the state does rule against her client, other prisoners challenging the drug shouldn’t give up because they can argue she didn’t have enough opportunity to present compelling evidence.

Muhammad’s execution stay expires two days after Christmas.

For more news updates from Jessica Palombo follow her on Twitter: @JessicaPubRadio.