Are States Breaking the Law to Get Execution Drugs?

As discussed previously here, the lethal injection drug sodium thiopental has been in short supply, and states have been running out.  Its manufacturer, Hospira, won’t be able to make more until at least early next year. Yet some states have mysteriously been able to get new supplies.  Oklahoma carried out an execution last night with drugs they may have obtained illegally from Arkansas.  The sudden appearance of a new batch of sodium thiopental in California has raised questions about whether they may have acquired it from overseas, and, like California, Arizona is refusing to reveal where it got its recent supply of the drug.

All this so states can continue to kill prisoners.

Hospira’s plea for states to stop using their product in executions may have fallen on deaf ears, but there could legal ramifications if states are acquiring FDA regulated drugs illegally.  According to the Daily Beast, citing the Oklahoma Department of Corrections, “Oklahoma did not consult a DEA registrant in obtaining the drug from Arkansas and filed no paperwork recording the transaction,” as is required by Federal law.

California’s new batch of sodium thiopental expires in 2014.  Hospira’s spokesman Dainel Rosenberg to the Arizona Republic, “The expiration dates for lots last manufactured by Hospira are for 2011. Therefore, product with an expiration date of 2014 cannot be Hospira product.”  Since Hospira is the only FDA approved manufacturer of this drug, what is it that California has?

Arizona is scheduled to execute Jeffrey Landrigan on October 26, but is also concealing where or how it acquired the sodium thiopental it plans to us, telling the Arizona paper only “The Department has lawfully obtained the necessary chemicals under its current written protocol ( . . . ) in sufficient quantity for an execution.”

We have a right to know how our states are carrying out this most extreme act of punishment.  Treating the acquisition of lethal injection drugs as if it were some big national security secret is not only suspicious.  It is an insult to the public in whose name these states are zealously trying to kill people.

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6 thoughts on “Are States Breaking the Law to Get Execution Drugs?

  1. This is so stupid! And even stupider is the news that in Connecticut, Judge Jon Blue barred Steven Hayes' lawyers from considering the death penalty's expense because he claims that it "costs more money to lock away a criminal for life than it is to execute him"! This is so arbitrary! And now on Monday, the jury is going to decide to kill Hayes for murder if there is enough aggravating evidence, and Hayes' lawyers aren't having enough mitigating evidence! What a stupid world we all live in! :x

  2. This is so stupid! And even stupider is the news that in Connecticut, Judge Jon Blue barred Steven Hayes’ lawyers from considering the death penalty’s expense because he claims that it “costs more money to lock away a criminal for life than it is to execute him”! This is so arbitrary! And now on Monday, the jury is going to decide to kill Hayes for murder if there is enough aggravating evidence, and Hayes’ lawyers aren’t having enough mitigating evidence! What a stupid world we all live in! :x

  3. It's difficult to come up with mitigating factors for heinous acts; my sympathies to the defense attorneys. That aside, how is cost a mitigating factor? So…they wouldn't have invaded that family's home, raped, murdered and attempt to incinerate the evidence; if only they'd reckoned how much it would cost the state for room, board and endless appeals?

  4. It’s difficult to come up with mitigating factors for heinous acts; my sympathies to the defense attorneys. That aside, how is cost a mitigating factor? So…they wouldn’t have invaded that family’s home, raped, murdered and attempt to incinerate the evidence; if only they’d reckoned how much it would cost the state for room, board and endless appeals?

  5. Another case that has "poster material" to keep the DP forever. Just the depravity factor in this case would wipe out and/all mitigating factors. These are the games lawyers play, and posters like DK support, that really makes the justice system reek.

  6. Another case that has “poster material” to keep the DP forever. Just the depravity factor in this case would wipe out and/all mitigating factors. These are the games lawyers play, and posters like DK support, that really makes the justice system reek.