Good news for death-row Canadian Ronald Smith: judge rejects execution drug

A U.S. judge has rejected a request from the state of Montana to change its execution protocol for prisoners on death row.

CALGARY — A U.S. judge has rejected a request from the state of Montana to change its execution protocol for prisoners on death row.

Lawyers for two condemned inmates, including Ronald Smith of Red Deer, Alta., had argued that a sedative called for under Montana’s lethal injection protocols could lead to an “excruciating and terrifying” death.

The two sides called experts that provided conflicting evidence on whether pentobarbital is an “ultra-fast-acting” barbiturate.

Judge Jeffrey Sherlock has ruled that it is not.

He says the state can either try to find another drug that would qualify or ask the state legislature to pass a new law.

Lawyer Ron Waterman from the American Civil Liberties Association says it’s good news for his clients since getting a bill passed would be difficult.

The next sitting of the Montana legislature isn’t until 2017.

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