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 -…

Global drug-makers intervene in lawsuit to stop mass execution in Arkansas

Midazolam
Two major pharmaceutical companies are making a last-minute legal intervention to stop the state of Arkansas from executing eight prisoners between 17th and 27th April. 

The companies, Fresenius Kabi and West-Ward, are throwing their weight behind a suit challenging the state’s lethal injection protocol. The suit seeks to prevent the state from moving forward with America’s largest mass execution since the civil rights era. 

The companies write in their brief that “The use of their medicines for lethal injections violates contractual supply-chain controls that the Manufacturers have implemented.” 

Though the companies have binding contracts in place to prevent the sale of their drugs to death rows, Arkansas has admitted in court that on at least one occasion it engineered a breach of such arrangements. 

Court documents which have come to light recently include an admission by Arkansas that it convinced a third-party supplier to sell the state medicines in direct breach of its contracts with the drugs’ manufacturer. 

The companies further warn of grave public health risks associated with the use of these medicines in executions, noting that “The use of their medicines for lethal injections […] creates a public-health risk because it could result in the denial of medicines from patients who need them most.” 

The suit which the two companies are now backing argues that state’s lethal injection cocktail carries a high risk of subjecting the condemned inmates to a torturous botched execution. 

The first drug which Arkansas plans to use in the upcoming executions, midazolam, has repeatedly failed to effectively sedate prisoners, leaving them conscious but paralyzed while the lethal drugs flow through their veins. 

Midazolam has been at the center of botched and prolonged executions in every state that has tried to use the drug, leading several states to abandon it altogether. Last week, a federal appeals court affirmed the halt of Ohio’s use of this drug. 

Commenting, Maya Foa – Director of the human rights organization Reprieve – said: 

“Pharmaceutical manufacturers develop drugs to save and improve lives, and the companies are understandably appalled at the prospect of their medicines being used in America’s largest mass execution since the civil rights era. 

“Arkansas deliberately engineered a breach in these companies’ contracts in order to obtain these drugs, undermining the interests of the healthcare industry and putting public health at risk. 

"Reprieve fully supports Fresenius Kabi and West-Ward’s efforts to prevent this grave misuse of life-saving medicines and protect public health.” 

The court briefs are available on the Reprieve website, here and here.

Source: Reprieve, April 14, 2017

⚑ | Report an error, an omission, a typo; suggest a story or a new angle to an existing story; submit a piece, a comment; recommend a resource; contact the webmaster, contact us: deathpenaltynews@gmail.com.


Opposed to Capital Punishment? Help us keep this blog up and running! DONATE!

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

Texas: Reginald Blanton executed

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

USA: Executions, Death Sentences Up Slightly in 2017

Texas executes Anthony Allen Shore

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

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

30-year-old Chinese inmate bids farewell to daughter, wife and mother before execution