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RALEIGH, NC (AP) — A state appeals court has rescheduled oral arguments in the lawsuit by North Carolina death row prisoners who challenged the rules for carrying out executions.

The Court of Appeals this week filed an order rescheduling the arguments for Jan. 21 before a three-judge panel. Arguments had been set for November but they were delayed when the Department of Public Safety updated rules on how condemned inmates would be put to death.

The new rules say the state plans to use one lethal chemical instead of three drugs. The prisoners’ attorneys have argued the three-drug method constituted cruel and unusual punishment, and that the procedure needed to go through the state’s rule-making process.

The court also said Thursday extra legal briefs could be filed reflecting protocol updates within two weeks.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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