Arizona Execution Postponed By Appeals Court

By  Al Macias
July 21, 2014

The scheduled execution of an Arizona man convicted of a double murder 25 years ago has been postponed.

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals issued the stay over the weekend. The delay is part of a growing national controversy over the drugs used in executions.

The court postponed the July 23 execution until Arizona prison officials reveal details on the two-drug combination that will be used in the execution of Joseph Rudolph Wood.

Wood's lawyers argued prison officials violated his First Amendment rights by refusing to provide detailed information about the drug manufacturer the state’s method of lethal injections.

Attorneys for the state argued there was no First Amendment right to the information Wood is seeking.

In the past, states used the same three-drug combination and didn't have problems getting access to the drugs, until the maker of a sedative used in executions ceased production. Then states started to shield the identity of the drug makers.

The Arizona case follows two botched executions earlier this year in Oklahoma and Ohio. Arizona planned to use the same drug combination as the one used in Ohio. A spokesperson for the Arizona attorney general’s office says the state plans to appeal Ninth Circuit’s ruling.

Wood was convicted in the 1989 murders of his estranged girlfriend, Debra Dietz, and her father, Eugene Dietz, in Tucson.