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Supreme Court Rejects Challenge to Indiana Death Penalty Protocol

Unanimous ruling removes one roadblock to first execution since 2009, but state still needs a supplier for necessary chemicals

(INDIANAPOLIS) - A legal roadblock to carrying out the death penalty in Indiana has been removed. But it's still not clear when any executions will take place.

The Indiana Court of Appeals ruled in June that Indiana can't execute anyone by lethal injection, because a change in the three-drug cocktail didn't go through the hearings and public comments required for new state regulations. A unanimous Supreme Court says the change is an internal policy that affects only department employees, so that process doesn't apply.

All but one of Indiana's nine Death Row inmates are still pursuing appeals. The execution of the lone exception, Steuben County quadruple murderer Joseph Corcoran, was in limbo even before the Court of Appeals ruling. Corcoran exhausted his appeals nearly two years ago, but Attorney General Curtis Hill's office said last fall the state hasn't been able to acquire the necessary chemicals, even after legislators passed a law ensuring confidentiality for suppliers.

Indiana hasn't carried out an execution since 2009.

(Photo: Ashley Fowler/WIBC)

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