Tonight on the show, we covered the breaking news of an execution in Arizona that took nearly two hours to complete. The Arizona Department of Corrections used a new cocktail of drugs, including one -- midazolam -- that has been linked to other executions that did not go as planned.
Witnesses to the execution today describe the prisoner as gasping for air more than 600 times. One compared it to watching a fish that had been thrown on shore, opening and closing its mouth. The execution lasted so long that lawyers for the prisoner asked the courts to stay the execution in progress. "He is still alive," they told the court.
They did not get that order. But they did get a court order requiring the county medical examiner to preserve tissue from the body and to take blood samples by 11 P.M. Eastern tonight. On the show, attorney Dale Baich told us the local medical examiner had said he would not comply with a court order to draw blood from the executed prisoner by that deadline. From the interview:
Attorney Dale Baich: We hope that the Pima County Medical Examiner complies with the court order. We’re getting word that the medical examiner says he doesn’t have time to get it done and he is not going to comply with the court order, so that’s something that we’ll be working on as the night goes on.Rachel Maddow: How do you work on that, if the court has made the order and the medical examiner is going to flout it what is your recourse?Baich: We will go back to the judge and ask him to issue an order to show cause as to why the medical examiner is not complying with the order of a federal court.
After the show, producer Sunita Sohoni spoke to Baich. He said the situation has since been resolved. While the medical examiner is still not keeping with the deadline issued by the court, the office says it will take the samples in the morning. We left a message with the county medical examiner. If we hear back, we will let you know.
Governor Jan Brewer has ordered a full review of the process, to find out why this lethal injection took so long.