RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — A federal appeals court on Thursday upheld Virginia's method of executing inmates by lethal injection, ruling that it prevents them from experiencing excruciating pain.

In a 2-1 decision, a panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected condemned inmate Christopher Scott Emmett's argument that Virginia's procedure was unconstitutional.

The appeals court said there is no evidence that the first dose of anesthesia has ever failed to render an inmate unconscious.