LETHAL INJECTION: States Resorting to Secrecy and Backup Procedures to Execute Inmates

As states try to secure the drugs for carrying out lethal injections, they are increasingly resorting “to secrecy and backup execution protocols necessitated by drug shortages instead of treating those condemned to death with the dignity appropriate to any human life,” according to a recent article in the Crime Report by Richard Dieter, Executive Director of the Death Penalty Information Center. The article described a number of desperate measures taken by states, such as secretly obtaining drugs from questionable sources overseas, designating a pharmacy as part of the “execution team” to hide its identity, and trying drugs never used before in executions. The article traces the history of lethal injections, culminating in the refusal of many drug companies to allow their products to be used in executions. On November 12, Florida will employ a risky 3-drug procedure, including a critical sedative only used once before in an execution. On November 14, Ohio intends to use a new injection process never tried before in U.S. executions.

(R. Dieter, “The Lethal Injection Debacle,” Crime Report, November 12, 2013). See Lethal Injection and State Information.