Appeals court weighs Ohio law shielding lethal drugs source


Robert Hungerford, of Phoenix, prays as he and a group of about a dozen death penalty opponents protest the possible execution of Joseph Rudolph Wood at the state prison in Florence, Ariz. on Wednesday, July 23, 2014. Arizona's highest court on Wednesday temporarily halted the execution of the condemned inmate so it could consider a last-minute appeal. The Arizona Supreme Court said it would consider whether he received inadequate legal representation at his sentencing. The appeal also challenges the secrecy of the lethal injection process and the drugs that are used. (AP Photo)
Robert Hungerford,Phoenix. (AP Photo)

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) —A federal appeals court is weighing a challenge by death row inmates of an Ohio law that shields the names of companies that provide lethal injection drugs.

The pending decision by the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals will help determine whether the state will proceed with its first executions in three years beginning in February.

Lawmakers approved the 2015 law in hopes of jumpstarting executions in Ohio, which have been on hold since January 2014.

The state argues that disclosing the names of specialty pharmacies that might mix batches of drugs could lead to threats against those businesses.

Attorneys for inmates say they can’t meaningfully challenge the use of the drugs without the information.

Condemned child killer Ronald Phillips is set to die Feb. 15.