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 -…

US regulators block Texas, Arizona over import of execution drug

Texas sued in January for the drug's release, saying in its lawsuit that it was importing the sodium thiopental for legal executions.

A US regulatory agency told Texas and Arizona that more than a thousand vials of drugs they ordered for executions in their states from India in 2015, and seized by US Customs, will not be released to them, an official said on Thursday. 

The Food and Drug Administration notified the Texas Department of Criminal Justice and the Arizona Department of Corrections that their confiscated shipments of sodium thiopental have been refused on the basis that the detained drugs appear to be unapproved new drugs and misbranded drugs, FDA press officer Lyndsay Meyer said.

Officials in Arizona were not immediately available for comment. "It has taken almost 2 years for the Food and Drug Administration to reach a decision, which we believe is flawed. TDCJ fully complied with the steps necessary to lawfully import the shipment," the Texas Department of Criminal Justice said in a statement. "We are exploring all options to remedy the unjustified seizure," it said. Arizona officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Texas sued in January for the drug's release, saying in its lawsuit that it was importing the sodium thiopental for legal executions. 

Sodium thiopental renders a person unconscious and was a staple of lethal injection mixes but has not been made in the United States for several years. "Texas appears to be trying to carve out an exception for this 1 purpose (using the drug in a lethal injection)," said Megan McCracken, an expert on lethal injection drugs and a professor at the University of California Berkeley School of Law. 

About 6 years ago, major pharmaceutical companies began imposing bans on sales of their products for use in executions, which left death penalty states scrambling to come up with new mixes and suppliers.

Many have turned to a less powerful, Valium-like sedative called midazolam to render prisoners unconscious. It has been used in troubled executions in Oklahoma and Arizona where inmates who were supposed to be insensate were seen twisting in pain on death chamber gurneys. Nebraska, South Dakota, Ohio, Arizona and Texas tried to import sodium thiopental from India between 2010 and 2015, according to court records and news media reports, but federal regulators blocked the moves. 

Previous attempts to import the drug have also been blocked by federal courts after challenges from death row inmates. The last major case was decided in 2013.

Source: Reuters, April 21, 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!

Comments

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