Arizona today admitted that it acquired the execution drug sodium thiopental from a non-FDA approved source, but continues to seek to execute Jeffrey Landrigan on October 26. The state refuses to say how they scored their new stash of the drug, citing a state law guaranteeing secrecy for executioners. The state also continues to claim that they got the drug lawfully, though this is difficult to reconcile with the admission that it was obtained from a source other than Hospira Inc., its only FDA-sanctioned provider.
There are plenty of other problems with Arizona’s plans to kill Jeffrey Landrigan, including that his trial attorney, who had never handled a death penalty case before, failed to introduce important mitigating evidence. Since the trial, much of that evidence has come to light, so much in fact that the judge who sentenced him to death now says that she would have “no choice” but to find that the mitigating circumstances were “sufficient to call for leniency”.
But no appeals court has ever held a hearing to examine Mr. Landrigan’s claim of inadequate counsel, and an execution has been scheduled anyway.
So, to sum up: Don’t Ask about the failures of Jeffrey Landrigan’s lawyer, and Don’t Tell anyone about the secret drug purchases of Arizona’s executioners.
At least for now. Litigation continues, as does an appeal for clemency.