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States to try new ways of executing prisoners. Their latest idea? Opioids.

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The synthetic painkiller fentanyl has been the driving force behind the nation’s opioid epidemic, killing tens of thousands of Americans last year in overdoses. Now two states want to use the drug’s powerful properties for a new purpose: to execute prisoners on death row.
As Nevada and Nebraska push for the country’s first fentanyl-assisted executions, doctors and death penalty opponents are fighting those plans. They have warned that such an untested use of fentanyl could lead to painful, botched executions, comparing the use of it and other new drugs proposed for lethal injection to human experimentation.
States are increasingly pressed for ways to carry out the death penalty because of problems obtaining the drugs they long have used, primarily because pharmaceutical companies are refusing to supply their drugs for executions.
The situation has led states such as Florida, Ohio and Oklahoma to turn to novel drug combinations for executions. Mississippi legalized nitrogen gas this s…

Texas: Disbarment of Former District Attorney Upheld

Anthony Graves
Anthony Graves
Former Burleson County District Attorney Charles Sebesta Jr. will remain disbarred for his conduct in winning the wrongful capital murder conviction of Anthony Graves.

The Texas Board of Disciplinary Appeals Monday upheld Sebesta's disbarment for "professional misconduct" in the case.

Graves was sentenced to death for the 1992 killings of a Somerville family.

His co-defendant, Robert Carter, originally testified that Graves was involved, but later said only he was responsible for killing the family. 

The State Bar of Texas disbarred the former district attorney for several mistakes in the case, including not correcting Carter's testimony.

Carter was executed in 2000. A federal appeals court overturned Graves' conviction and ordered a new trial in 2006, and Graves was released in 2010 after 18 years behind bars — 16 of which were on death row.

After the bar's decision, Sebesta appealed to the board, arguing that changes in disciplinary procedures warranted overturning his disbarment.

Source: Texas Tribune, Jonathan Silver, Feb. 8, 2016

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