Arizona

New issue in executions: Should the death chamber be silent?

  • FILE - This combination of file photos shows one of the three drugs that the Arkansas Department of Correction (ADC) purchased to perform several executions. The top photo, provided by the ADC, shows a bottle of Midazolam, with the manufacturer's information blacked out by the ADC. The bottom photo, provided by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, shows the label for Midazolam. Arkansas has executed three inmates in the past week using midazolam, a sedative that’s been the subject of multiple court challenges since it was first used by Florida in 2013. (Arkansas Department of Correction/FDA via AP, File)

    FILE - This combination of file photos shows one of the three drugs that the Arkansas Department of Correction (ADC) purchased to perform several executions. The top photo, provided by the ADC, shows a bottle of Midazolam, with the manufacturer's information blacked out by the ADC. The bottom photo, provided by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, shows the label for Midazolam. Arkansas has executed three inmates in the past week using midazolam, a sedative that’s been the subject of multiple court challenges since it was first used by Florida in 2013. (Arkansas Department of Correction/FDA via AP, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - This undated file photo provided by the Arkansas Department of Correction shows death-row inmate Jack Jones, who is one of two Arkansas killers set to die Monday, April 24, 2017, in the nation's first double execution in more than 16 years. Jones was given the death penalty for the 1995 rape and killing of Mary Phillips. (Arkansas Department of Correction via AP, File)

    FILE - This undated file photo provided by the Arkansas Department of Correction shows death-row inmate Jack Jones, who is one of two Arkansas killers set to die Monday, April 24, 2017, in the nation's first double execution in more than 16 years. Jones was given the death penalty for the 1995 rape and killing of Mary Phillips. (Arkansas Department of Correction via AP, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - This combination of file photos shows one of the three drugs that the Arkansas Department of Correction (ADC) purchased to perform several executions. The top photo, provided by the ADC, shows a bottle of Midazolam, with the manufacturer's information blacked out by the ADC. The bottom photo, provided by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, shows the label for Midazolam. Arkansas has executed three inmates in the past week using midazolam, a sedative that’s been the subject of multiple court challenges since it was first used by Florida in 2013. (Arkansas Department of Correction/FDA via AP, File)

    FILE - This combination of file photos shows one of the three drugs that the Arkansas Department of Correction (ADC) purchased to perform several executions. The top photo, provided by the ADC, shows a bottle of Midazolam, with the manufacturer's information blacked out by the ADC. The bottom photo, provided by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, shows the label for Midazolam. Arkansas has executed three inmates in the past week using midazolam, a sedative that’s been the subject of multiple court challenges since it was first used by Florida in 2013. (Arkansas Department of Correction/FDA via AP, File)  (The Associated Press)

The nation's first double execution in 16 years is raising a new issue involving transparency and the death penalty: Should witnesses be allowed to hear what goes on in the death chamber?

A lawyer who watched Monday's executions in Arkansas says he saw an inmate open his mouth several times when it should have been still. That prompted another lawyer to claim in a court filing that Jack Jones was gulping for air after receiving a sedative, the first component of a lethal injection.

Other witnesses did not see it that way. An open microphone could have settled the question.

Arkansas authorities say their procedure is to turn off a microphone in the chamber after an inmate's last statement and turn it on again for the pronouncement of death.