Pennsylvania inmates argue 2-year-old execution protocol violates procedures in state law

Five inmates on Pennsylvania's death row say the Corrections Department doesn't have legal authority to change state execution procedures from a two-drug to a three-drug protocol.

A hearing in Commonwealth Court on Wednesday concerned whether their lawsuit can proceed.

The Corrections Department is asking the court to throw out the case, arguing that the inmates lack legal standing.

Questions from the seven-judge panel focused on the department's decision to revise the protocol and other rules in 2012 after execution drugs became scarce.

Pennsylvania has executed only three people since the death penalty was reinstated in 1976 — most recently in 1999.

Terrance Williams is one of the five inmates. The state Supreme Court is considering whether Gov. Tom Wolf acted legally last month when he issued Williams a reprieve.