PHOENIX - The Arizona Supreme Court has denied a request from the state to set an execution date for a convicted murderer who's been on death row for 20 years for killing two men in 1987 in Lake Havasu City.
The Arizona Attorney General's Office petitioned the state Supreme Court for a death warrant for Daniel Wayne Cook, which would set an execution date for one month after issuance.
But an order signed Tuesday by Arizona Chief Justice Ruth McGregor instead postponed the court ruling for 14 days to give Cook's attorneys time to file motions in Maricopa County Superior Court challenging the state's method of administering the death penalty.
Cook, 47, would join eight other condemned Arizona prisoners who are contesting the state's lethal injection.
In April, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the lethal-injection procedure used in Kentucky was constitutional; that is, it did not constitute cruel and unusual punishment.
That opinion left the door open for condemned inmates nationwide to challenge lethal-injection techniques used in their states.
The Arizona Attorney General's Office says that Arizona's protocol is similar to Kentucky's; defense attorneys disagree.
Both states use a three-step method that administers three drugs in succession: a drug to render the inmate unconscious, followed by a second drug to paralyze the inmate, and a third to stop the heart.
Defense attorneys counter that the Arizona protocol is substantially different in that it inserts the drug through a surgically installed catheter in the groin instead of an arm, and that it employs false lines that empty into buckets instead of into the inmate's veins to keep members of the execution team from knowing for certain whether they administered a fatal dose.