Panel rejects challenge of Mo. execution team

AP News
Posted: Nov 10, 2009 5:39 PM

A federal appeals court has rejected a lawsuit challenging the training and competence of Missouri's execution team in a decision that could move the state closer to resuming executions, but likely not for months.

A three-judge panel of the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday rejected the contention of eight death row inmates that Missouri's past hiring of incompetent or unqualified execution team members posed constitutional problems.

Attorney Matt Hellman said the inmates may appeal.

And the Missouri Supreme Court says it won't schedule any executions at least until the federal courts reach a final decision.

The state has not had any executions since May, while courts considered the inmates' legal challenge.