Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Judge blocks Missouri's access to execution drug

Missouri will have to wait to receive the drug cocktail for its upcoming execution until at least next week. Ohio recently employed the same drug--compounded pentobarbital--in the execution of Dennis McGuire on January 16, which lasted 26-minutes. Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) has since delayed the state's next scheduled execution until the Department of Rehabilitation and Correction completes its review of McGuire's execution.

As The Guardian reports:

A US federal judge has temporarily blocked an Oklahoma compounding pharmacy from selling a drug to the Missouri department of corrections for use in an upcoming execution.


The restraining order was issued in a lawsuit filed a day earlier in US district court by the Missouri death row inmate Michael Taylor. His attorneys allege that the department contracts with the Apothecary Shoppe to provide the drug set to be used in Taylor’s 26 February lethal injection.


The lawsuit argues that several recent executions involving the drug, compounded pentobarbital, indicate it will likely cause Taylor “severe, unnecessary, lingering and ultimately inhumane pain”.


In his order on Wednesday Judge Terence Kern wrote that Taylor’s attorneys submitted “facts demonstrating that immediate and irreparable injury, loss, or damage will result to plaintiff before defendant can be heard in opposition”.


The judge set a hearing for Tuesday and ordered the pharmacy to submit a response to the injunction by Friday. He said the order would remain in effect at least until the hearing.


It was not immediately clear if the execution would be delayed because of the ruling. The state has not revealed the name of the compounding pharmacy supplying the drug and the Apothecary Shoppe previously declined to confirm or deny that it was the source of a drug used in an earlier Missouri execution.

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