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No Second Chances: What to Do After a Botched Execution

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Ohio tried and failed to execute Alva Campbell. The state shouldn't get a second chance.
The pathos and problems of America's death penalty were vividly on display yesterday when Ohio tried and failed to execute Alva Campbell. Immediately after its failure Gov. John Kasich set June 5, 2019, as a new execution date.
This plan for a second execution reveals a glaring inadequacy in the legal standards governing botched executions in the United States.
Campbell was tried and sentenced to die for murdering 18-year-old Charles Dials during a carjacking in 1997. After Campbell exhausted his legal appeals, he was denied clemency by the state parole board and the governor.
By the time the state got around to executing Campbell, he was far from the dangerous criminal of 20 years ago. As is the case with many of America's death-row inmates, the passage of time had inflicted its own punishments.
The inmate Ohio strapped onto the gurney was a 69-year-old man afflicted with serious ailm…

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

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