A Collaboration with the University of Pittsburgh

Federal judge prevents pharmacy from providing lethal injection drugs

Judge Terence Kern [official profile] for the US District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma [official website] issued a temporary restraining order on The Apothecary Shoppe in Tulsa [corporate website] to stop the pharmacy from providing an execution drug to the Missouri Department of Corrections [official website] for an upcoming lethal injection. The restraining order was issued [AP report] after a federal lawsuit was filed by Michael Taylor, who is scheduled to be executed later this month. The lawsuit argued that several recent executions using pentobarbital indicate that Taylor would experience inhumane pain during his execution. Judge Kern agreed with this possibility and set a hearing for Tuesday. The judge also ordered the pharmacy submit a response to the lawsuit. Taylor pleaded guilty to abducting, raping and killing a 15-year-old girl in 1989.

There is a shortage of commonly used lethal injection drugs in the US, forcing a number of states to modify their execution drug protocols. Last week a federal judge in Louisiana scheduled [JURIST report] a trial to review the constitutionality of the state's new execution protocol, which delayed the prisoner's execution for 90 days. In January the US Supreme Court stayed [JURIST report] the execution of a Missouri death row inmate because the state refused to release the name of the pharmaceutical to be used in the execution, but the stay was later lifted and the execution carried out. This same two-drug mixture at question in Louisiana was used last month in the execution of an Ohio convict, which reportedly caused him to suffer visible pain and his children have filed a suit in federal court over the prolonged execution [JURIST reports].

About Paper Chase

Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

© Copyright JURIST Legal News and Research Services, Inc., 2013.