Alabama inmate's lawyers seek phone access during execution

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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Lawyers for an Alabama death row inmate say problems with a recent lethal injection show the need for attorneys to have telephone access during executions.

Attorneys for Tommy Arthur say in a December court filing that they should have a means to contact the courts if an execution goes awry.

Alabama inmate Ronald Bert Smith coughed and moved for about 13 minutes as the state was trying to render him unconscious during a lethal injection this month.

Smith's attorneys say that indicates he was never fully anesthetized during the procedure. The state prison commissioner says there was no sign of suffering.

Arthur does not have an execution date. The U.S. Supreme Court delayed Arthur's execution last month to consider whether to hear his appeal challenging the state's lethal injection procedure.

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