Saturday, October 23, 2010

Challenging Lethal Injection (again)

Drug's Origin Challenged by Arizona Death Row Inmate:

Arizona plans to execute Jeffrey Landrigan next week, but his lawyers are arguing that one of the drugs that the state intends to use to end his life may not be good enough.

Arizona officials have the drug, but defense lawyers for Mr. Landrigan are asking to stay the execution until the state reveals where it got its supply.

If Arizona obtained the drug from an overseas supplier, they argue, it may be substandard and violate Food and Drug Administration rules for importation.

This refers to the nation-wide shortage of sodium thiopental which I discussed back in September. In desperation to get on with the job of executin', several states have allegedly resorted to smuggling the drug in from overseas, bypassing the usual safety protocols demanded by the FDA.

Which means nothing, naturally, to my favorite pro-death penalty advocate.

Kent Scheidegger, legal director for the Criminal Justice Legal Foundation, a group that supports the death penalty, said that arguing over the safety of a drug for executions is “absurd.”

“As long as it’s a real drug manufacturer and not mixed up in somebody’s garage, it doesn’t matter where it came from,” Mr. Scheidegger said. While the Food and Drug Administration is supposed to determine whether drugs are safe and effective, he said, “in this case, safe and effective are opposites.”

Hahaha. Remember, this is the dude who once compared 18 needle insertions to find a vein on an Ohio death row inmate to getting a flu shot.

Memo to the New York Times: please find someone who is articulate and can speak in coherent sentences to represent the pro-death penalty side. Because the pro-death penalty side would be better served by noting the following: by verifying the drug's authenticity and ensuring it will do what it is intended to do, we will go a long way towards speeding up executions in the country.

I know, I's Saturday...stop thinking so much.

Anyway, it will be interesting to see how this challenge ends up, and just how far states are will to go to keep the machinery of death operating in the U.S.

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