December 6, 2013
A recent decision by a federal judge led to a shortage of drugs commonly used by states for lethal injections.
Now, those states are asking for help.
The judge's ruling in March blocked the importation of thiopental and referred to it as "an unapproved drug".
Now 15 states are calling on the Department of Justice to intervene and want the Food and Drug Administration to appeal the judge's decision.
Several state attorneys general say their ability to enforce the laws is being undermined, specifically in states where capital punishment is authorized.
Many capital punishment opponents claim sodium thiopental can wear off too quickly, and that some prisoners would actually be awake and able to feel pain as they were put to death.