Criminal Justice
4:12 pm
Thu March 27, 2014

Update: Texas Supreme Court Halts Execution Drug Disclosure Order

Update (3/28): The Associated Press is now reporting that the Texas Supreme Court has halted the court decision that ordered the state to disclose the name of the compounding pharmacy that makes the drug pentobarbital.

Original Story (3/27): Today a judge in Austin ruled that the Texas Department of Criminal Justice must reveal the name of the pharmacy that is manufacturing the drug pentobarbital, the drug used to execute death row inmates.   

But State Judge Susan Covington's order allows the TDCJ to reveal the compounding pharmacy of the execution drug exclusively only to the attorneys of those men and women on death row.

Austin attorney Maurie Levin, who originally filed suit and represents the two death row inmates in the case, said there are two very important reasons why the state needs to release this information:

"There is a need for the State of Texas to be transparent and accountable when they are carrying out the greatest of tasks," Levin said. "And secondly, prisoners who are scheduled to be executed are entitled to that information in order to access serious suffering that could result in sub-par drugs."

Levin said recent executions in Oklahoma and North Dakota did not go as planned, where the men being executed showed signs of suffering and pain during the process.

“It is unacceptable to keep prisoners or the public in the dark on how executions are carried out,” Levin said.

The TDCJ cited concerns about safety and retaliation against the compounding pharmacy manufacturing the lethal drugs. The state has two weeks to release that company’s name to the attorneys of death row inmates.

The Texas attorney general’s office sided with Levin, saying that the state must release the name of the pharmacy.