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Missouri Death-Row Drugs Improperly Stored

By Hey :-), Jan 18, 2014 | Updated: Jan 18, 2014 | | |
  1. Hey :-)
    Missouri's prison system is improperly storing expired doses of a new lethal injection drug provided by an Oklahoma pharmacy not licensed to do business in Missouri, attorneys for a death row inmate facing execution this month said in a complaint filed Friday.

    Attorneys for Herbert Smulls have asked the Oklahoma State Board of Pharmacy to recall an "expired, unsafe" batch of the sedative pentobarbital provided to Missouri by an unidentified Oklahoma compounding pharmacy. The complaint says the pharmacy gave erroneous instructions to store the drug at room temperature, a violation of accepted pharmaceutical standards.

    Defense attorney Cheryl Pilate said David Dormire, a top Missouri Department of Corrections official who oversees its 21 prisons, testified in a Wednesday deposition that he is keeping the compounded pentobarbital in his office until Smull's scheduled Jan. 29 execution. Industry standards say such drugs should only be used within 24 to 48 hours when kept at room temperature, Pilate said. Smulls was convicted of killing a St. Louis County jeweler in 1991.

    "They are dangerously indifferent to widely recognized and accepted standards for the proper storage of compounded drugs," Pilate said.

    Department director George Lombardi and a spokesman for the Missouri Department Corrections did not immediately respond to interview requests. Calls to the Oklahoma regulatory agency were directed to a compliance officer who is out of the office until next week.

    Missouri switched to its one-drug execution method late last year and has since killed two inmates. The complaint filed Friday includes Missouri state records showing the pentobarbital given to both inmates had expired eight to 10 days earlier.

    The compounding pharmacy's identity is blacked out of the documents obtained by Smulls' attorney under state public records laws and through legal proceedings. Missouri says the pharmacy is a member of the execution team protected under state privacy laws. Other states have taken similar positions, in part because of backlash against the drug makers by anti-death penalty advocates.

    Missouri and other states had used a three-drug execution method for decades, but pharmaceutical companies recently stopped selling those drugs to prisons. Several states now get their execution drugs from compounding pharmacies, which custom mix drugs for individual clients. Unlike typical pharmaceutical firms, compounding pharmacies are not regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, though they are subject to state regulations.

    Missouri's rocky efforts to renew capital punishment continue to be scrutinized. A Democratic state lawmaker says he plans to file legislation to place a one-year moratorium on executions and create an oversight commission to further study the state's use of capital punishment. The Republican state auditor last week announced a new review of the Missouri Department of Corrections, though officials emphasized it was not triggered by recent developments.

    In Ohio, the Thursday execution of Dennis McGuire took nearly 30 minutes as he gasped and struggled for breath during a 10-minute stretch. That execution also relied on a new drug protocol — intravenous doses of the sedative midazolam and the painkiller hydromorphone — being used for the first time after the state' s supply of pentobarbital ran out.

    By Alan Scherzagier AP
    Photograph; Pentobarbital, farmingo
    January 18 2014
    St Louis AP, San Antonio Express


  1. Hey :-)
    Attorney for Smulls seeks stay over drug concerns

    The attorney for Missouri death row inmate Herbert Smulls has asked a federal court for a 60-day stay of execution, citing concerns about whether the state's execution drug could cause the inmate to suffer during the process.

    [IMGR=''white'']https://www.drugs-forum.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=36850&stc=1&d=1390490198[/IMGR]Attorney Cheryl Pilate filed the stay motion Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Jefferson City. It wasn't clear when the court would rule.

    Smulls was sentenced to death for killing a St. Louis County jeweler in 1991. He would be the third Missouri death row inmate executed since November, and the third to die by an injection of a form of pentobarbital made by a compounding pharmacy. The Missouri Department of Corrections refuses to say where the drug is made, or by whom.

    Pentobarbital was used in an execution on Jan. 9 in Oklahoma, where inmate Michael Lee Wilson's final words were, "I feel my whole body burning." Pilate said it is possible that the same pharmacy provides the lethal drug to both states.

    A corrections department spokesman, David Owen, did not respond to an interview request. Nanci Gonder of the Missouri Attorney General's office said in an email statement that the department's response to the stay request will be filed by noon Friday, but declined further comment.

    Pilates, in the court document, cites sealed deposition testimony by David Dormire, director of the Division of Adult Institutions for the corrections department.

    Dormire's testimony "reveals a shocking level of bureaucratic indifference regarding the lethal drug, including a failure to obtain even the most basic information about the background and reliability of the compounding pharmacy, including whether it is properly licensed or adheres to industry standards ..." Pilate wrote.

    The filing cites concerns about how the corrections department stores the pentobarbital. Pilate wrote that the drug to be used on Smulls was picked up on Jan. 14 — 15 days before the execution. Dormire testified it is stored at room temperature, according to Pilate. She said pharmaceutical standards call for a "high risk" compounded drug to be kept at room temperature for no more than 24 hours, or it could degrade, raising the risk it wouldn't work properly.

    "These are essentially experiments on human subjects," Pilate said in an interview. "What I can tell you is it is likely to cause excruciating pain."

    Missouri and other states used a three-drug execution method for decades, but pharmaceutical companies have stopped selling those drugs for use in executions. Many states now get the drugs from compounding pharmacies, which custom mix drugs for individual clients. Unlike typical pharmaceutical firms, compounding pharmacies are not regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, though they are subject to state regulations.

    Concerns about Missouri's execution process prompted a Missouri House panel to schedule a hearing Tuesday. It was canceled when corrections department director George Lombardi declined to attend.

    Smulls, 56, was convicted of killing Chesterfield jeweler Stephen Honickman while Smulls and an accomplice were robbing the store owned by Honickman and his wife. Florence Honickman was shot twice but survived.

    By Jim Salter
    Photograph stltoday; Herbert Smulls
    January 23 2014
    Associated Press St. Louis, San Antonio
  2. Hey :-)
    Missouri inmate seeks stay of execution over drug issue

    Lawyers for a Missouri death-row inmate have asked for a stay of his execution next week because a drug planned for his lethal injection was approved by the same Oklahoma lab that approved New England drugs which caused a deadly meningitis outbreak in 2012.

    Herbert Smulls is scheduled to be executed Wednesday morning, just after midnight.

    He was sentenced to death for the 1991 murder of a St. Louis jewelry store owner.

    The drug, pentobarbital, was used for the execution of Oklahoman Lee Michael Wilson earlier this month, who said as he was dying that he felt his whole body burning.

    Oklahoma was the first state to use the drug for executions in 2010.

    The lab that approved the drug, Analytical Research Laboratories, is based in Oklahoma City, according to lawyers for Smulls.

    The request for a stay of execution has been supplemented by an expert declaration from pharmacist Larry Sasich, who wrote that there is no way to know the exact composition of the drug to be injected into Smulls and that there is a high likelihood the drug may cause him to suffer extreme pain.

    The request for a stay of execution also alleges that the drug will have been stored at room temperature for 15 days before the planned execution, even though standard of the United States Pharmacopeial Convention state it should not be used after being left at room temperature for more than 24 hours.

    In fall of 2012, ARL reported favorable test results for steroids made by Massachusetts-based New England Compounding Center that killed 64 people and sickened nearly 700 others.

    Federal officials cited the lab for poor record keeping and inspectors with the U.S. Federal Drug Administration said they could not tell how ARL did its testing, according to the filing by Smulls' attorneys.

    By Shannon Muchmore
    25 January 2014
    Tulsa World News
  3. MikePatton
    Perfect karma is when a murderer dies in the exact same way he killed his victim(s). And since they most likely suffered through their murder, I'm not really bothered with the fact that his execution "might not be painless" as his lawyer put it.

    That said, I'm not pro capitol punishment, because I would absolutely rather die than spend life in prison, so I think it's an easy way out for those assholes. I think the best thing to do is get all the non violent drug offenders out of our prisons and then make it a living hell for all the REAL scumbags.
  4. Hey :-)
    Michael Taylor executed by Missouri using compounded pentobarbital

    State fends off legal challenges and goes ahead with lethal injection using unofficial version of drug from unnamed source

    [IMGR=''white]https://www.drugs-forum.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=37500&stc=1&d=1393576396[/IMGR]Missouri has gone ahead with executing a death-row prisoner using a drug from an unspecified source. The lethal injection of pentobarbital used to kill Michael Taylor, 47, who raped and murdered a teenage girl in 1989, was presumed to have been bought by the state from a compounding pharmacy – a supply arrangement that sparked legal challenges over the potential cruelty of using an unregulated drug.

    Taylor offered no final statement. He mouthed silent words to his parents, two clergymen and two other relatives who witnessed his death. As the process began he took two deep breaths before closing his eyes for the last time.

    Taylor was pronounced dead shortly after midnight. Federal courts and the governor had refused last-minute appeals from his attorneys, who argued that execution drugs purchased from a compounding pharmacy could have caused Taylor inhuman pain and suffering.
    Taylor’s victim, 15-year-old Ann Harrison, was in her driveway holding her school books, flute and purse when she was abducted by Taylor and Roderick Nunley. The men pulled her into their stolen car, took her to a home, then raped and fatally stabbed the girl as she pleaded for her life.

    Nunley also was sentenced to death and is awaiting execution.

    In their appeal Taylor’s attorneys questioned Missouri’s use of an unnamed compounding pharmacy to provide pentobarbital. They also cited concerns about the state executing inmates before appeals were complete and argued that Taylor’s original trial attorney was so overworked that she encouraged him to plead guilty.
    The Oklahoma-based compounding pharmacy Apothecary Shoppe agreed last week that it would not supply the pentobarbital for Taylor’s execution, which left Missouri to find a new supplier. The attorney general, Chris Koster, later disclosed that a new provider had been found but refused to name the pharmacy, citing the state’s execution protocol that allows for the manufacturer to remain anonymous.

    Taylor’s attorneys argued use of the drug from an unspecified source could cause an inmate pain and suffering because no one could check if the maker was legitimate and had a record of producing safe drugs.

    The official makers of pentobarbital refuse to sell it for executions.

    By staff, agencies, AP
    Photograph Reuters; executed Michael Taylor
    Wednesday 26 February 2014
    The Guardian
  5. Hey :-)
    Will Courts Lift Veil of Secrecy Around Lethal Injections?

    Despite growing controversy over the use of anonymous pharmacies for lethal injections, the U.S. Supreme Court has thus far declined to block any executions based on 11th-hour appeals challenging the drug connections.

    That includes the case of Michael Taylor, a convicted rapist and murderer who was put to death at 12:10 a.m. Wednesday in Missouri after a furious legal battle that stretched well into the night.

    It's worth nothing, however, that three high court justices wanted to block Taylor's execution and cited the words of an appeals judge who said so little was known about the source of the deadly dose of pentobarbital that it "could be nothing more than a high school chemistry class."

    The strongly worded dissent from Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Kermit Bye — echoed by Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan — is giving some defense lawyers hope the veil of secrecy will be lifted by the judiciary.

    "It seems that the issues raised in Judge Bye's dissent are starting to at least resonate with some members of the Supreme Court," said Allen Bohnert, a federal capital defender from Ohio.

    Bohnert represented Dennis McGuire, who was executed in Ohio in January for raping and stabbing to death a pregnant woman. Witnesses said it took 25 minutes for McGuire to die and he gasped for breath after an untried cocktail of drugs hit his bloodstream.

    [IMGR=''white'']https://www.drugs-forum.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=37502&stc=1&d=1393577810[/IMGR]With the supply of drugs traditionally used to carry out executions dwindling, states are scrambling for other sources. At the same time, they are insisting on secrecy, which defense lawyers say makes it impossible to challenge an execution's legality.

    "The defendant who's about to be executed might want to claim that what the state is going to do to him is cruel and usual punishment. But he’s not allowed to know the source of drugs or the education of the pharmacist who made them," says Richard Dieter, executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center, which opposes the death penalty.

    "You can't find out whether the maker has been cited for contaminated drugs, because you don't know his name."

    Three cases pending before the Supreme Court challenge the use of untested drug protocols and state restrictions on the chemicals' source. And battles to require transparency are being waged in state courts, too.

    * Christopher Supulvado, a convicted murder on death row in Louisiana, is challenging that state's lack of disclosure. "Our claim is not that the protocol is bad. Instead, we say we need to know in time what the protocol is, and the state keeps changing it at the last second and not telling us," said his lawyer, Tom Goldstein.

    * Georgia's Supreme Court is considering a challenge to a state law, passed last year, that declares information about the source of its drugs to be "a confidential state secret."

    * Two Oklahoma inmates, Clayton Lockett and Charles Warner, sued the state Wednesday for refusing to reveal the origin of the drugs for their March executions.

    Warner's lawyer, Madeline Cohen, said the dissent in Taylor's execution "is the first sign that some of the justices are concerned with what’s going on."

    Added Bohnert, "I would like to think that this untenable bind will be straightened out by the Court at some point, because it effectively obliterates any possibility of showing an Eighth Amendment violation based on problems with execution drugs."

    Earlier Challenge

    In 2008, the Supreme Court upheld what was then a widely used combination of three drugs, administered in sequence, to carry out a lethal injection.

    Opponents claimed if a state failed to properly inject the first of them, an inmate was left awake but paralyzed, in intense pain but unable to cry out. The court said some risk of pain is inherent in any method of execution but that critics did not show another method would be clearly more humane.

    Two years after that ruling, the makers of two of the drugs used in the combination decided they no longer wanted to be part of the death penalty process and prison supplies began drying up. In response, states began turning to compounding pharmacies, which are seen as less regulated.

    Specialty pharmacies that were unmasked became targets of protests and litigation. A Texas compounder asked for its drugs to be returned; one in Oklahoma agreed not to take part in Taylor's execution, forcing Missouri to buy elsewhere.

    States are anxious to shield the dwindling number of suppliers.

    In a court filing, Georgia said divulging the identity of execution participants "is likely to subject the drug manufacturers, suppliers, testing labs, and healthcare professionals to harassment, potential loss of business and other adverse consequences."

    Nine other states either have similar laws or insist their public records laws allow them to keep the pharmacy names secret, said Jen Moreno of the death penalty clinic at the UC Berkeley School of Law.

    Executions have come to a halt in six of the nation's 32 death penalty states, as well as in the federal system, in response to lawsuits over the lethal injection process or concern about untested protocols, she said.

    Some that have gone forward have given defense lawyers ammunition to argue the new protocols amount to unconstitutional cruel and unusual punishment.

    In the dissent cited by the Supreme Court's Ginsburg, Missouri judge Bye pointed to the January execution of Michael Lee Wilson, condemned to die for beating a co-worker to death in 1995.

    He took particular note of Wilson's final six words, uttered 12 seconds after compounded drugs were injected into his veins: "I feel my whole body burning."

    By Pete Williams
    Photograph google images; Dennis Mcquire
    February 28 2014
    NBC News
  6. Hey :-)
    Texas prison officials ordered to reveal source of lethal injection drugs

    • Judge's ruling stops short of making information public

    • Lawsuit filed on behalf of two men scheduled to be executed

    A judge has ordered Texas prison officials to reveal the supplier of the lethal injection drugs to be used to execute two men next month, but stopped short of making the information public.

    The ruling in a district court in Austin on Thursday came after attorneys for the men filed a lawsuit against the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) arguing that knowing the provenance of the drugs and their purity was vital to determining whether the inmates might be subjected to unconstitutional levels of pain during their executions.

    The outcome follows a decision on Wednesday in Oklahoma in which a judge found that a state law keeping the source of lethal injection drugs a secret to be unconstitutional and in violation of inmates' right to due process.

    “The ruling signals, as other courts have done recently, that it is unacceptable to keep prisoners or the public in the dark regarding how executions are carried out – including the source of the drugs,” Maurie Levin, a lawyer for the Texas pair, Tommy Sells and Ramiro Hernandez, said in a statement.

    The judge issued a protective order meaning that Texas officials must provide details to the inmates’ lawyers but the information will not be made available to the public, at least for the time being.

    “Secrecy surrounding the lethal injection process is, as today’s ruling shows, unacceptable. The condemned must have clear information about the drugs to be used, so that the courts can make an accurate assessment of the viability and constitutionality of any impending execution,” said Levin.

    [IMGL=''white'']https://www.drugs-forum.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=37949&stc=1&d=1106931207[/IMGL]“In particular, pentobarbital for lethal injections now comes from compounding pharmacies, which are coming under increased scrutiny precisely because they are not adequately regulated. Indeed, executions carried out with compounded drugs in other states have led in some instances to prolonged and seemingly torturous executions.”

    "We are disappointed in the district court's decision and will be appealing the ruling to a higher court," Jason Clark, a TDCJ spokesman, told the Guardian.

    Texas officials told the Associated Press last week that they had obtained a fresh supply of pentobarbital but refused to provide further details. Sells and Hernandez are the first two Texas inmates scheduled to be put to death using the new batch. Sells is set to die on 3 April for slashing two girls’ throats in 1999, killing one, and Hernandez six days later for beating a man to death in 1997.

    The fourth Texas execution of the year, using the last of the old batch of drugs, is scheduled for tonight at 6pm CT: Anthony Doyle, who beat to death a woman as she tried to deliver food in 2003. Another five are scheduled between next week and 21 May.

    The source of Texas's supply is of particular interest since the state runs by far the nation's busiest death chamber. Of the 39 executions in the US last year, 16 were in Texas. Also, despite the large amounts it needs, Texas has been successful at finding new stocks while others have struggled.

    Oklahoma postponed two executions planned for this month because it ran out of drugs. Alabama officials said this week that the state is no longer able to carry out executions because it is out of pentobarbital.

    Both states use the sedative as part of a three-drug protocol. Shortages forced Texas to change its lethal injection protocol in July 2012, switching from a three-drug cocktail to using only pentobarbital. It became the sedative of choice for several states after sodium thiopental became impossible to source.

    In 2011 a Danish manufacturer of pentobarbital stopped supplying it for use in executions, prompting states to turn to compounding pharmacies. These make up bespoke prescriptions and are regulated by individual states, not the federal Food and Drug Administration.

    Lawyers for death row inmates and anti-death penalty groups claim that this means that regulatory standards for compound pharmacies are variable and often lax, so the quality and consistency of lethal injection drugs cannot be guaranteed. This, they say, risks causing excessive suffering that would be a breach of the Eighth Amendment of the US Constitution, which bans "cruel and unusual" punishments.

    In January this year an Oklahoma prisoner, Michael Lee Wilson, said he felt "my whole body burning" on the gurney.

    Amid the desperate scramble to procure drugs and carry out executions as planned, some states have started to modify their protocols to allow the use of untested combinations. The execution of Dennis McGuire in Ohio in January using an experimental two-drug mix was controversial after his death took about 25 minutes and appeared to be painful. Last month a court ordered Louisiana to postpone an execution for 90 days in order to review the state's planned new drug protocol.

    A Guardian investigation into Texas executions found that they take far longer on average, and their durations vary wildly, since the switch to using only pentobarbital. The state started using compounded pentobarbital from a pharmacy in suburban Houston last year. After the name of the pharmacy was revealed, court documents showed that it tried to get the vials back, claiming it had been promised anonymity.

    As public scrutiny of lethal injection methods and supplies has grown, some states have responded by attempting to cloak the procurement process in greater secrecy, claiming, like Texas, that drug-makers increasingly need to be protected from harassment and threats of violence. Alabama lawmakers are currently considering a bill that would make suppliers' names a secret.

    In their court filing, lawyers for Sells and Hernandez argued: "Because compounding pharmacies operate outside of FDA oversight, it is especially important for TDCJ to disclose essential information about the compounded pentobarbital or drugs it uses, including where the compounded pentobarbital comes from, how it was prepared and who has tested it, so that the representations made about the drug can be properly evaluated to ensure the execution will be carried out in a manner that comports with the constitution.”

    By Tom Dart
    Photograph Reuters; The death chamber at the federal penitentiary in Huntsville Texas
    Thursday 27 March 2014
    The Guardian
  7. Hey :-)
    Louisiana faced with revealing lethal injection details to inmate

    The Louisiana Department of Corrections does not plan to appeal a U.S. Court decision this week that compels it to reveal to inmates on death row the content and maker of drugs used in lethal injections, a prisons official said on Friday.

    [IMGR=''white'']https://www.drugs-forum.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=37980&stc=1&d=1396175613[/IMGR]The decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit on Thursday was one in a series in favor of inmates who have sought delays for their execution while they seek information about the contents of lethal injection cocktails and clarity on who would be supplying the drugs.

    The decisions are likely to delay executions across the country as lawyers for inmates in other states launch similar efforts on their behalf in states looking to develop new means of lethal injection after supplies of drugs they have once used have run dry.

    "The state will not appeal the decision," Darryl Campbell, the executive management officer of the Louisiana Department of Corrections, told Reuters. The attorney general's office did not reply to calls seeking comment.

    A three-judge panel for the Fifth Circuit rejected a petition on Thursday from the prison system to keep information about the drugs and how they would be administered secret from Christopher Sepulvado and other death row inmates.

    Sepulvado, convicted of scalding and beating his 6-year-old stepson to death in 1992, was scheduled to be executed earlier this year but the execution was delayed in February due to questions about the lethal injection.

    Several states have been scrambling to find new suppliers and chemical combinations after drug makers, mostly in Europe, imposed sales bans because they objected to having medications made for other purposes being used in lethal injections.

    The states said they have looked to alter the mix of drugs used for lethal injections and keep the suppliers' identities secret. They have also turned to lightly regulated compounding pharmacies.

    [IMGR=''white'']https://www.drugs-forum.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=37981&stc=1&d=1396175613[/IMGR]Those pharmacies can mix drugs, often to meet needs not available in prescription medication, the pharmacy compounding accreditation board said.

    But lawyers for death row inmates have argued that keeping information secret was a violation of due process protections in the U.S. Constitution. They also argued that drugs from compounding pharmacies can lack purity and potency and cause undue suffering, in violation of the Constitution.

    So far, courts have decided in their favor, with an Oklahoma judge ruling on Wednesday that the state's secrecy on its lethal injections protocols was unconstitutional.

    On Thursday, a Texas state judge ordered the department of corrections to disclose the name of the supplier of drugs used for two inmates scheduled to be executed in April. The state plans an appeal and has argued it must keep the names secret to protect its suppliers.

    The Texas Supreme Court on Friday temporarily suspended the decision to compel the prison system to reveal the source of the lethal injection drugs to allow judges time to consider the issue, the Houston Chronicle reported.

    By Jon Herskovitz
    Photographs Google imgs.
    29 March 2014
  8. Hey :-)
    Texas executes killer after ruling on injection drug

    A killer has been put to death in the American state of Texas amid controversy about where the state got supplies of its lethal injection drug.

    Tommy Lynn Sells, 49, was the first inmate to be injected with a dose of recently replenished stocks of the powerful sedative pentobarbital.

    [IMGR=''white'']https://www.drugs-forum.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=38071&stc=1&d=1107533814[/IMGR]US states are facing a shortage of execution drugs as a growing number of firms have refused to sell them.

    Sells' lawyers tried unsuccessfully to find out the names of the suppliers.

    Debate about the source of execution drugs has recently become contentious in several states as numerous drug makers have refused to sell their products if they are used in executions.

    Opposition is especially strong among European drug makers, where concern over capital punishment is fiercest.

    A lower court earlier stopped Sells' execution, ordering the Texas Department of Criminal Justice to reveal more information about the drug supplier, but its ruling was overturned on appeal.

    The convicted man's attorneys argued that they needed to know the name of the pharmacy supplying the pentobarbital in order to verify the drug's quality and protect him from unconstitutional pain and suffering.

    "Without transparency about lethal injections, particularly the source and purity of drugs to be used, it is impossible to ensure that executions are humane and constitutional," lawyers Maurie Levin and Jonathan Ross said in a statement.

    But the Supreme Court agreed with Texas prison officials, who argued that information about the drug supplier must be kept secret to protect the pharmacy from threats of violence.

    The justices did not elaborate on the reasoning behind their ruling, which was issued about an hour before Sells' execution.

    Last month a pharmacy in the state of Oklahoma said that it would not supply pentobarbital to neighbouring Missouri for use in an execution.

    Sells was convicted of murder in 2000 for stabbing Kaylene Harris, 13, to death and slashing her 10-year-old friend, Krystal Surles, who survived and helped police find him.

    US media reports said Sells had confessed to as many as 70 killings across the US.

    He declined to give a statement prior to his execution.

    Sells was pronounced dead 13 minutes after being given the pentobarbital.

    His execution was the fifth lethal injection this year in Texas, the busiest state in the US for enforcing the death penalty.

    Nearly 1,400 men have been put to death since the US Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1976.

    Photograph AP; Tommy Lynn Sells
    April 4 2014
    BBC News
  9. Hey :-)
    Scant evidence of threats to execution drugmakers

    DALLAS (AP) — Texas prison officials have offered scant evidence to support their claim that pharmacies that supply the state with execution drugs would be in danger of violence if their identities were made public.

    [IMGR=''white'']https://www.drugs-forum.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=38110&stc=1&d=1107554722[/IMGR]If those officials are investigating the threats, including a suggestion a truck bomb could blow up a such a pharmacy, as a serious risk to the safety of the pharmacies or their employees, they refuse to acknowledge doing so.

    The Associated Press could find no evidence that any such investigations are underway in Texas, and police in the community where one such pharmacy is located said they are not concerned. In neighboring Oklahoma, the attorney general said Thursday he was investigating such a threat, but several other law enforcement agencies told the AP his office has never mentioned it.

    Instead, anti-death penalty advocates believe Texas and other states are trumping up the possibility of violence to avoid having to disclose their name of suppliers, ensuring they can keep buying the drugs they need to put condemned inmates to death.

    "If these are the types of threats that the departments are hearing and they're not providing the information to back it up, it's just sort of irresponsible and playing on people's fear," said Jen Moreno, an attorney at the University of California-Berkeley who has represented death row inmates.

    "It's using the fear of something tragic and horrible that happened before. It's a sort of fear mongering."

    As major drugmakers, many based in Europe, have stopped selling pentobarbital and other substances used in lethal injections to U.S. corrections agencies because they oppose the death penalty, Texas and other states are increasingly forced to rely on compounding pharmacies for the drugs.

    Years of protests and public relations campaigns by anti-death penalty advocates have made many of these pharmacies wary of selling execution drugs because of the negative publicity that often follows.

    After a suburban Houston compounding pharmacy was identified last fall as the source of Texas' supply of pentobarbital, it demanded the prison system return the drugs and accused officials of placing the business "in the middle of a firestorm."

    "I, and my staff ... do not have the time to deal with the constant inquiries from the press, the hate mail and messages, as well as getting dragged into the state's lawsuit with the prisoners, and possible future lawsuits," wrote Dr. Jasper Lovoi, owner of The Woodlands Compounding Pharmacy, in a letter dated Oct. 4.

    Spokesmen for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice and the Texas Attorney General's office would not answer questions this week about whether they are investigating any threats to The Woodlands Compounding Pharmacy or any other pharmacy that might sell lethal injection drugs. A spokesman for the Texas Department of Public Safety said he could locate no such investigation taking place.

    When police were called in October to deal with a small group of protesters at the pharmacy, no arrests were made. No other incidents have been reported and local detectives are not currently investigating any threats, said Lt. Brady Fitzgerald of the Montgomery County Sheriff's Office.

    "There were no problems at the location whatsoever," he said.

    The Texas Attorney General's office has consistently rejected the state prison system's requests to deny open-records requests seeking the name of drug suppliers, most recently in 2012, when they found it had "not established disclosure of the responsive information would create a substantial threat of physical harm to any individual."

    Earlier this week, prison officials returned with a new request to deny such a request from attorneys who represent an inmate who was executed Thursday evening. "There is a substantial risk that the information will be used in the same manner this time; to threaten, harass, and intimidate the pharmacy into terminating business with the (state)," they wrote.

    [IMGR=''white'']https://www.drugs-forum.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=38109&stc=1&d=1107554722[/IMGR]This time, prison attorneys added a new detail. They said an individual had recently threatened to detonate a truck bomb outside a pharmacy in another state that supplies drugs used in executions.

    That appears to be a reference to The Apothecary Shoppe, a compounding pharmacy in Tulsa, Okla. State officials there have said a pharmacy supplying execution drugs received an email in January that raised the specter of the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing that killed more than 160 people.

    "As the folks at the federal building can tell you, it only takes one fanatic with a truckload of fertilizer to make a real dent in business as usual," the email reads.

    Attorneys for Oklahoma argued that the email was a clear threat. "If an individual decided to offer such helpful advice to the President of the United States, there is no doubt that such an email would be labeled a threat and visit from the proper authorities should be anticipated," they said last week in a brief in which they also admitted they did not treat it that way.

    Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt told the AP Thursday he had launched an investigation, but would not say when it began. Prior to that interview, federal, state and local law enforcement officials in Oklahoma City and Tulsa told the AP no one had informed them about the threat to The Apothecary Shoppe or other pharmacies. All said they are not investigating this or any other threat made against pharmacies that supply execution drugs.

    Meanwhile, officials in Delaware and Georgia said they were unaware of any threats made against pharmacies, and the Missouri attorney general, Chris Koster, declined to say if any threats had been identified. All three states have also struggled to identify a drug supplier.

    Attorneys for death row inmates say the inmates have a right to know what drugs are being used to execute them, particularly since Texas and other states are using compounding pharmacies, which are not heavily regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

    "There is simply too much at stake in the secrecy surrounding lethal injection issues for the courts and the public to allow the state to carry out executions without full transparent disclosure," said Madeline Cohen, a Denver-based public defender representing an Oklahoma death row inmate.

    By Nomaan Merchant and Bailey Elise McBride, also contributing were Kate Brumback, Randall Chase, Michael Graczyk and Jim Salter AP writers.
    Photographs google imgs.
    April 4 2014
    Yahoo News
  10. Nosferatus
    This whole controversy could be easily avoided, one need only consider how cheap and easily sourced rope, electricity and bullets are.
  11. Hey :-)
    How can the law be allowed to use techniques possibly associated with unnecessary suffering when it is judging those it considers inhumane ?

    Also, by any means, is it alright to kill someone when one is judging he/she who killed ?
  12. Nosferatus
    Actually, hanging is still optional in Montana for inmates sentenced prior to the state switching from that as the primary method to lethal injection in 1995. Utah retains the firing squad as it's primary method. Nebraska still has electrocution as it's primary method and several southern states retain it as an option. Clearly those methods don't cause undue suffering or they would be banned outright. While both execution and incarceration are painful in some way to the subject, I can assure you that they suffer much less than their victim did.

    To answer your other question, yes, it is perfectly justifiable to kill someone for a capital crime, which is usually murder with aggravating circumstances, and in some states, one or two other particularly heinous crimes. I don't even look at it as vengeance or any other type of base, emotional reaction, I see it as simple pragmatism, the subject has proven unequivically that their presence in society is in and of itself dangerous, so yóur choices are to lock them up until they die of some other cause, which is ridiculously expensive and rather pointless, or to hasten that conclusion, which is less taxing and, as a side benefit, the onlyway to know for sure that they will never reoffend, if they're in prison, there's still the chance they could harm others, either by escaping and doing so or by attacking other inmates or institutional staff.

    This is not an issue of moral superiority, the purpose of the justice system is to prevent further harm to innocent people either by rehabilitating or removing (through incarceration or execution) those who commit such harm.
  13. Hey :-)
    Just because other States may do this does not make this issue of execution by way of untested lethal injections humane.

    This does not mean that less harm is ok because it is better than greater harm.

    Insane reasoning.
  14. Nosferatus
    To answer your first two points, I acknowledged that any type of capital punishment is going to likely be painful in some regard to the subject, so is incarceration or any other sanction imposed by a court. Legal sanctions are not designed to be pleasant, nor are they supposed to be.

    As for calling my reasoning insane, I notice that all you quoted was my assertion and not my explanation of it that followed, that indicates a few possibilities, either you didn't read my explanation, you are not actually interested in discussing this and simply wish to apply juvenile labels to any argument you disagree with, or you cannot fathom that someone would hold differing views to yours on this topic and therefore discredit them out of hand, or some combination of the three. Which is it? And, further, what exactly is so insane about my reasoning.
  15. Hey :-)
    I disagree.

    That's because killing those that kill seems hypocritical. Your 'cirmumstances' argument seemed smoke screened.
  16. Nosferatus
    I'm sorry, but you have really lost me here. You disagree that there is a potential for any exectution to be painful? But you are arguing against capital punishment because it's painful to the subject.

    I didn't present any circumstances, I simply justified why I thought it was appropriate for the courts to impose a sanction of death under certain conditions. Maybe you can help me, being that the courts are not supposed to be in the business of regulating morality or claiming moral high ground, but rather exist to impose the will of the people through enforcing the law, and keeping those same people safe by appropriately dealing with those who break that same law, how is it wrong for them to impose the death penalty under certain, very specific circumstances?
  17. Hey :-)
    I'm sorry if i did not make my opinions clear.

    1. I do not agree with capital punishment.

    2. Until the laws regarding execution become extinct i believe in at least a humane a death as possible.

    3. By humane i mean a completely pain free exit. Akin to the pain free euthanasia we at least give our pets/animals.
  18. Nosferatus
    1. You have made that abundantly clear. I respect your view, but most certainly do not share it.

    2. I agree, as I said, it's not about revenge, it's about removing a person who has proven themselves incapable of living in society.

    3. Animals are typically euthanized with straight pentobarbital, just like is being proposed for use on people in order to accomadate shortages of some of the three part cocktail ingredients.
  19. Hey :-)
    You seem to contradict yourself. At first you seem to hold no compassion whatsoever to a regulated transparent form of a pain free exit within capital punishment. Now you agree with me as to a humane a death as possible.

    I'm finding this argument juvenile and tiresome. Because of your contradictions and arguing style, i see no reason, apart from maybe that of trolling or looking to bait, for your initial post.

    Therefore i shall be focusing once more on News Reports only in this important thread.
  20. Nosferatus
    The only point I intended to make with my initial post, as I've already clarified, is that those methods are still lawfully used elsewhere in the US, if they were outright inhumane, would that be the case? I see no contradiction there whatsoever.

    Thank You. Dismissing as being deliberately provocative anyone with whom you disagree is a sure way to win the debate. I really thought that this debate would yield a better outcome, but such is life. Do you sincerely believe that my initial comment, which seems to have been more or less deliberately misinterpreted, automatically nullifies anything else I might have to say on the topic? Good for You.

    You do that.
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