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Arizona Makes Shady Drug Deal to Execute Prisoner

  1. enquirewithin
    As if capital punishment didn’t already look crude and barbaric, Arizona has raised the bar.

    Arizona executed convicted murderer Jeffrey Landrigan last night by lethal injection–using a drug in the mixture obtained in a secret overseas deal. The execution occurred just hours after the Supreme Court lifted a lower court’s stay of execution in a 5-4 decision–with Kagan, Breyer, Ginsburg and Sotomayor dissenting.

    “There is no evidence in the record to suggest that the drug obtained from a foreign source is unsafe,” read the majority opinion. This is despite the fact that all the public knows about the source of the drug, the anasthetic known as sodium thiopental, is that it’s from somewhere in England. American suppliers have run low on the drug, leading to delays in the administration of lethal injections. The previous court’s stay of execution had been issued because the judge felt that the unknown source of the drug meant that it hadn’t been tested against U.S FDA standards–and therefore it might be “cruel and unusual” punishment. Another issue at stake was whether the anonymous UK supplier knew that it was aiding capital punishment, as the drug is often ordered for use in U.S. hospitals.

    But as the Guardian reports, the execution brings up more troubling issues about capital punishment. For one thing, the drug’s only U.S. supplier, Illinois-based hospira, actually does not recommend its use in capital punishment. “[The drug] isn’t indicated for capital punishment, and Hospira does not support its use in this procedure,” Hospira said, according the the Guardian. “Hospira has communicated with departments of corrections in the United States to advise them of this position.”

    Furthermore, the new attention to the case reveals that the original sentencing judge has changed her mind. She felt Landigan, who strangled and killed another man in a robbery, in fact did not deserve to be killed because he had brain damage that was not brought to the court’s attention at the time.

    Lethal injections have already been under nationwide scrutiny as to whether the supposedly humane method of execution can be botched too easily or causes excessive pain.


    Posted by Sarah Seltzer at 7:22 am
    October 27, 2010


  1. enquirewithin
    Arizona execution goes ahead after stay lifted

    Arizona executed a man last night after the US supreme court lifted a stay granted when the state refused to reveal how it obtained one of the drugs used in the death chamber from a British manufacturer.

    Jeffrey Landrigan, who was convicted of the murder of Chester Dean Dyer in 1989, was pronounced dead at 10:26pm local time.

    A federal judge put his execution on hold on Monday after defence lawyers argued that the state's failure to reveal its supplier meant the drug might not meet US standards and that could amount to cruel and unusual punishment.

    But the ruling was overturned by the supreme court, and Landrigan was put death by lethal injection in Arizona's first execution since 2007.

    The state's attorney general, Terry Goddard, used a little known law preventing the identification of executioners – and others with "ancillary" functions – to defy a court order requiring the state to reveal the exact source of an anaesthetic, sodium thiopental, used in the execution.

    Yesterday, Goddard's office confirmed to the Guardian that the drug was obtained from a manufacturer in Britain because of a shortage in the US but declined to name the company concerned. Sodium thiopental is used to render prisoners unconscious before they are killed with other drugs. It has been in short supply in the US for months, forcing at least two states to look for alternative sources of supply.

    Kent Cattani, Arizona's assistant attorney general, acknowledged at a court hearing last week that the state had not got the drug from the only approved US supplier, Illinois-based Hospira.

    It is possible that the UK supplier was unaware that the drug was intended for use in executions as several US states have sourced it from abroad for use in hospitals.

    Hospira has said that it does not approve of the use of the anaesthetic in executions. "[The drug] isn't indicated for capital punishment, and Hospira does not support its use in this procedure," it said. "Hospira has communicated with departments of corrections in the United States to advise them of this position."

    The company says that the shortage of supply has been caused by "a supply issue with the active pharmaceutical ingredient, which is supplied by a third party". It says it expects normal supplies to be resumed early next year.

    Landrigan was sentenced to death for strangling and stabbing Dyer in 1989 during a robbery weeks after escaping from an Oklahoma prison where he was jailed for another murder. But his death sentence has come under increasing scrutiny.

    Last week, Cheryl Hendrix, the judge who condemned Landrigan, told a clemency board that she would have given him a lesser sentence had she been aware of the brain damage caused by his mother's heavy drinking while pregnant and his turbulent childhood.

    "The death penalty in this case is not appropriate and never has been," she said.

    The clemency board split on whether to recommend to Arizona's governor, Jan Brewer, that she reduce Landrigan's sentence to life without parole.

    Landrigan's father died of natural causes while awaiting execution for murder in Arkansas five years ago.


    Chris McGreal and agencies in Phoenix
    guardian.co.uk, Wednesday 27 October 2010 08.38 BST
  2. Moving Pictures
    Before I get to my point, I want to say that I am pro-execution for certain cases. Many times I've seen cases where I didn't think the dp should have been used and it was and I've seen many cases where the motherfucker deserved to hang from the highest tree and he was given life in prison instead. I just wanted to state my position before I make my post.

    The majority of states that execute use the three drug method. It's a mix of sodium thiopental (a barbiturate to render the condemned unconscious), a paralytic (to stop breathing), and a form of potassium (to stop the heart). The debate is that if the sodium thiopental isn't effective in rendering the condemned totally unconscious, they would be in great pain because they would essentially suffocate from the paralytic. Suffocation would be extremely painful and most certainly fallsunder "cruel and unusual punishment". Because of this, seven (I believe, don't quote me) states have switched to a one drug method: a high dose of straight sodium thiopental. Much like how your dog or cat is put down at the vet. The issue though is that since the drug is so rarely used, it's very expensive ($350 a dose from what I read) and we're having to import it from overseas. I believe I read there is one dose left in the US that is set to expire at the end of the month. My state, KY, has halted all execution until this is resolved.

    Anyhow, states that use the one drug method have a back up drug incase the st fails. That drug is hydromorphone. So my question is, why not use hydromorphone as the primary drug? We produce a shit load of it and it's much cheaper than st. I can see no reason why this strong opiate isn't as viable an option as st. Hell, I think it is an even better choice. I'm not sure of all the whatnots that take place in the brain and hydromorphone may take longer to kill the condemned but it shouldn't be much longer. With the one drug st method, the person is usually dead within 7-8 minutes. Even if we were talking 10-12 minutes, it's not like the person would be in pain. In fact, he'd be in a lot of pleasure until he went unconscious, then they wouldn't be feeling anything. Another idea is to use one of those super powerful fentanyl analogues. They're more concentrated than hydromorphone so could theoretically kill quicker.

    This probably won't spark a debate or anything but I've been having these ideas for a while and am glad I finally got the chance to share them. Anyway, just my thoughts.
  3. EscapeDummy
    Some may call me barbaric, but for many of the condemned swim doesn't really think the short suffering if the sodium thiopental doesn't work is really cruel or unusual. Most of these motherfuckers have done much, much worse, to the point swim isn't really concerned with their ABSOLUTE well being as they are executed.

    Let me clear my position first - swim is against the death penalty. But only for ONE particular reason - because innocents have, are, and will be murdered. That's the only reason swim is against it, if there were some way to guarantee the guy is guilty (and I know there isn't), swim would honestly be fine with execution by the chair, injection, or firing squad. Only costs a few bucks for the bullets and the gunpowder, and hell, our troops get a little target practice. Guillotine or hung in public? Kind of sick, but no sympathies from swim. Seriously, anything short of torture, or what POW's or political prisoners go through is not cruel or unusual to these people in swim's eyes.

    It's kind of funny, because swim really is a "life is the most important thing" kind of guy who loves nature, loves the earth, loves other people, cooperation not competition. This is the one place he deviates from the rest of his beliefs. As for the hydromorphone - from a rational / practical standpoint, that's a great idea. Swim would be for it, just because of the huge amounts of $ it would save over time. Swim thinks people might be against it because, what do we do to our most horrible, degenerate, vile criminals? Send them into the next life through an opiate OD, causing pure bliss until respiratory failure gets them?
  4. Moving Pictures
    I agree with you, ED, that a lot of those fuckers don't deserve a peaceful, painless death but the death penalty is (supposed to be) used as punishment, not revenge. I hate to say it and I wouldn't want to watch it, but I'd feel some satisfaction if some of those guys were tortured to death. I don't think that someone who kills a store owner during a robbery or something like that should be tortured to death but child rapists/killers, sick fucks like that, well, a little revenge there would be nice. Those guys that did that home invasion up in Connecticut (I think) and raped the mom and little girl then set the house on fire and killed em, yeah, those motherfuckers need some Spanish Inquisition style shit to happen for them.

    But, like I said, dp is used for punishment, not revenge. I don't think we could successfully use execution in this country if some were made to suffer a painful death and others got to go easy. We really can't have a double standard in how we kill.

    As far as innocent people being killed, I don't think it happens that often. Not saying it doesn't, but most of the time, the cases are pretty clear cut. There is a few out their that I'm on the fence about though. I think cases that aren't clear cut need to be reviewed very thoroughly by independent third parties. Parties that aren't anti-dp but aren't kill-happy either. A commission should be created for those purposes. It might not be practcal but I don't have any other solution.

    Some people just have to die for what they've done.
  5. dyingtomorrow
    That's funny, the U.S. is so concerned with protecting the monopoly of it's major drug companies, that it forbids the average American from getting cheaper drugs from other countries. Because "it doesn't know their quality" bullshit. Yet it will import drugs for foreign countries to kill people. Fucking barbarians.
  6. mickey_bee
    Personally swim's concerned about the fact a drug produced in the UK, and sold to the US from the UK, was to be used for capital punishment, something which has been completely banned for over half a century.

    If the UK knew what the drug's purpose was for then surely they were committing some sort of wrongdoing at least.
    And if the US didn't inform the UK that the drug was to be used for capital punishment, then surely they were committing some sort of crime.

    Either way this is f**ked up.
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