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Kentucky appears to have violated a judge's order stopping all executions and preventing the state from taking any action to carry out a lethal injection by purchasing a key drug used in the process, an attorney for several death row inmates said Thursday.

Public defender David Barron wants to bar the state from ever using the 18 grams of sodium thiopental the state acquired this month.

Despite a national shortage of sodium thiopental, Kentucky bought enough of the fast-acting narcotic from a Georgia company to carry out three lethal injections. The packaging indicated the drug was made by Sandoz International GmbH, a European generics company, Kentucky Justice and Public Safety Cabinet spokeswoman Jennifer Brislin said. The packaging had an expiration date of May 2014.

In two filings in Franklin Circuit Court, Barron said that by even purchasing the drug, Kentucky violated the injunction handed down in September by Judge Phillip Shepherd. The Kentucky Supreme Court is reviewing a judge's order in one case regarding the state's lethal injection procedures and has halted all executions in the interim.


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