FEATURED POST

Capital Punishment in the United States Explained

Image
In our Explainer series, Fair Punishment Project lawyers help unpackage some of the most complicated issues in the criminal justice system. We break down the problems behind the headlines - like bail, civil asset forfeiture, or the Brady doctrine - so that everyone can understand them. Wherever possible, we try to utilize the stories of those affected by the criminal justice system to show how these laws and principles should work, and how they often fail. We will update our Explainers monthly to keep them current. Read our updated explainer here.
To beat the clock on the expiration of its lethal injection drug supply, this past April, Arkansas tried to execute 8 men over 1 days. The stories told in frantic legal filings and clemency petitions revealed a deeply disturbing picture. Ledell Lee may have had an intellectual disability that rendered him constitutionally ineligible for the death penalty, but he had a spate of bad lawyers who failed to timely present evidence of this claim -…

Virginia lawmakers approve execution secrecy bill: Reprieve comment

Virginia lawmakers have today voted to pass a controversial bill designed to shroud the state's execution procedure in secrecy and shield the state and its drug suppliers from the Freedom of Information Act.

The bill, tabled by Virginia governor Terry McAuliffe, proposes using secret batches of specially mixed medicines in executions by lethal injection. The proposal amends a previous bill restoring the electric chair as a default execution method, passed earlier this year by both houses of the state legislature.

Courts in Arkansas and Missouri have already struck down attempts to keep execution drug suppliers secret, and the use of compounded medicines in executions is opposed by both the American Pharmacists Association (APhA) and the International Academy of Compounding Pharmacists (IACP). Last year, Virginia executed a prisoner using drugs that were trafficked from a secret supplier in Texas, contrary to DEA regulations. Texas has since confirmed this was an exceptional agreement, rather than a regular procedure.

Commenting, Maya Foa, Director at Reprieve, said:

"This is a step backwards for Virginia, and takes the state down a dangerous road.

“Virginia’s secret drug law completely ignores the wishes of pharmacists, who – like the companies who make the drugs – are in the business of saving lives rather than ending them, and who embrace scrutiny as a matter of professional integrity.

“Sourcing drugs in secret will drive the lethal injection process further into the shadows, removing any accountability from the process and increasing the risk of botches. This will expose the state to legal challenges, repel businesses, and damage its reputation for good Government.”

  • The American Pharmacists Association (APhA) statement, and that of APhA CEO Thomas E. Menighan, can be seen here.
  • In March 2015, the International Academy of Compounding Pharmacists released a statement which read:
“While the pharmacy profession recognizes an individual practitioner's right to determine whether to dispense a medication based upon his or her personal, ethical and religious beliefs, IACP discourages its members from participating in the preparation, dispensing, or distribution of compounded medications for use in legally authorized executions.
“The issue of compounded preparations being used in the execution of prisoners sentenced to capital punishment continues to be a topic of significant interest. It is important to first understand the origin of this issue: states are turning to compounded preparations for this purpose because the companies that manufacture the products traditionally used have unilaterally decided to stop selling them for use in executions. IACP believes that a national discussion needs to be conducted on whether a pharmaceutical manufacturer can restrict the use of FDA-approved products only to purposes that adhere to their corporate values.
“Pharmacy, and compounding in particular, is a profession of healing and care that is focused on individual patients and providing the best and most appropriate medications at all times.”
  • Details of Texas' arrangement with Virginia to supply drugs for one execution are available here.
Source: Reprieve, April 21, 2016

- Report an error, an omission: deathpenaltynews@gmail.com - Follow us on Facebook and Twitter

Most Viewed (Last 30 Days)

Harris County leads Texas in life without parole sentences as death penalty recedes

Idaho County commissioners take stand against death penalty

Indonesian death penalty laws to be softened to allow reformed prisoners to avoid execution

Texas executes Anthony Allen Shore

USA: Executions, Death Sentences Up Slightly in 2017

Texas executes Dale Devon Scheanette

Death penalty cases of 2017 featured botched executions, claims of innocence, 'flawed' evidence

California: Death penalty sought against Redwood City man accused of sexually assaulting, killing infant

Virginia Governor commutes death sentence of killer found mentally incompetent to be executed

Texas man with scheduled execution uses letters from fellow death row inmates to argue for reprieve