"One is absolutely sickened, not by the crimes that the wicked have committed, but by the punishments that the good have inflicted." - Oscar Wilde

Friday, April 8, 2016

Missouri lethal injection under scrutiny

The Missouri department of corrections (DOC) has been ordered to release two pharmacy names from where it purchases the lethal drugs used in execution.

Final judgements laid down by the circuit court of Cole County criticize Missouri prisons for not rightfully informing the public about their way of conducting the death penalty. According to the Death Penalty Information Center, Missouri has executed 18 men since 2013 using the drug pentobarbital through an unknown source.

These sources are thought to be by the press as compounding pharmacies where organization make drugs specifically to tailor the needs of a client. Those pharmacies are not held to the same processes and testing standards of other larger pharmaceutical companies.

A lawsuit filed in 2014 by media organizations including The Associated Press, Kansas City Star and St. Louis Post-Dispatch argued that public disclosure of purchasing records reduce risks over the way "improper, ineffective or defectively prepared drugs are used."

Judge Jon Beetem ruled in favor of the organizations, notably marking where the DOC had "knowingly violated the Sunshine law by refusing to disclose records that would reveal the suppliers of lethal injection drugs, because its refusal was based on an interpretation of Missouri statutes that was clearly contrary to law."

Beestem ruled that correspondent drug-providing pharmacies were not protected in the same way as execution team members' identities.

The Guardian was represented in the legal action by the Media Freedom and Information Access Clinic at Yale Law School, along with Bernard Rhodes of Lathrop & Gage LLP in Kansas City, Missouri.

The Guardian has their representative's take on the case.

"Without this information, the public is unable to exercise meaningful oversight of the executions carried out in its name," Rhodes said. "One of the primary purposes of a free and independent press is to perform a watchdog function over government activities, and this lawsuit is a perfect example of that."

Most active death penalty states attempt to circumvent a European-led boycott that blocks trade of lethal injection drugs to U.S. prison markets in part of established ethics.

Without providing the public with information on both the source and methods utilized in execution risks of "failed" executions remain.

The Los Angeles Times reported on an unsuccessful Arizona execution where regularly administered doses of a lethal substance with a private origin did not kill the convict until 15 doses had been administered. Arizona officials neglected to disclose where the state obtained the drugs due to concern over reputation of the supplying company.

Because DOC purposely violated the Sunshine law freedom of information law, Plaintiffs are entitled to all costs and reasonable attorney's fees, which they have established to be $73,335.41.

The nature of public information and how it is legally disbursed affects opinions on the moral aspects associated with the 32 states that still implement the death penalty. Public awareness promotes an ease of mind in our state and own localities.

"I think it's ethical to be able to know what's being used to kill people on death row. We are sentencing these people to this fate, and not knowing what we use to bring them to their end is pretty cruel," junior Leigha Chenoweth said.

Some people do agree that the public should know what drugs are being used to execute the death row prisoners.

Source: nwmissourinews.com), April 7, 2016

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