Court begins trial on Arizona execution practices

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PHOENIX (AP) -- Lawyers for Arizona death-row inmates say the state is ignoring provisions in its own protocol on conducting injection executions.

A trial started Monday in federal court examines claims that Arizona's execution practices violate inmates' rights by threatening to subject them to unconstitutional pain and suffering.

The lawyers say the state isn't abiding by provisions on such things as selection and training of execution personnel and how injection drugs are administered.

They also say Arizona's past importation of an unapproved execution drug shows that Arizona can't be trusted to be transparent or act under the law.

A state lawyer says no inmates have suffered substantial pain because of protocol deviations.

A judge in 2009 rejected a constitutional challenge to the protocol, ruling that inmates hadn't proven their rights would be violated.