The Justice Department has launched a review of state-run executions of death-row inmates, after President Barack Obama raised concerns about a botched execution earlier this week in Oklahoma.
A department spokesman said the agency would begin a review of state-run death-penalty programs, similar to one it has been conducting on federal capital punishment. Federal executions are rare, and there has been a moratorium in place since 2011 while the Justice Department reviews its policies.
"The department is currently conducting a review of the federal protocol used by the Bureau of Prisons, and has a moratorium in place on federal executions in the meantime," said the spokesman, Brian Fallon. "At the president's direction, the department will expand this review to include a survey of state-level protocols and related policy issues."
President Obama, speaking at a news conference Friday after a bilateral meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, called the seemingly flawed execution "deeply troubling" and said he would discuss with Attorney General Eric Holder this particular case and an analysis of U.S. death penalty practices more broadly.
The Oklahoma execution highlights some of the wider problems with U.S. death-penalty practices, he said.
The President supports the death penalty, and noted the Oklahoma inmate's "heinous" crime, but he has raised questions about it, including racial bias in the American justice system.
Oklahoma halted a planned double execution Tuesday after the delivery of a drug cocktail to an inmate went awry due to what state officials were calling a "vein failure." The inmate died of a heart attack more than 40 minutes after the drugs were first administered.