Questions raised over Arizona's execution team

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

PHOENIX (AP) -- An attorney for a death-row inmate in Arizona is raising questions about who will carry out the state's executions after the physician who conducted the last five said he won't do them anymore.

In a letter to the Arizona Department of Corrections sent late Wednesday, attorney Dale Baich asks whether a new execution team is in place for the state's upcoming executions.

If so, Baich wants to know whether the department has conducted background checks and verified medical licenses.

Baich also says the department is left with the only other member of the medical team -- a corrections officer without a medical license who has an arrest record for drunken driving and public intoxication.

Corrections spokesman Bill Lamoreaux could not immediately say whether a new execution team has been chosen.

The last execution in Arizona took place on July 19. Thomas Paul West was executed by lethal injection, which itself has been the center or recent controversy, for the 1987 beating death of a Tucson man.

Lawyers for five death-row inmates claim Arizona has deviated from the court-approved process of administering lethal injections, thus violating the inmates' rights.

According to ADC, there currently are 130 inmates in death row. There are no executions scheduled at this time, although in the Arizona Supreme Court was slated to consider issuing execution warrants for two inmates, Robert Henry Moormann and Robert Charles Towery, last month.

Arizona has executed 91 inmates since 1910. Twenty-six of those were by lethal injection, which voters approved for use in 1992.