"Judge asks Arizona for execution-drug source," is the title of Michael Kiefer's report in today's Arizona Republic.
A federal judge has asked the Arizona Department of Corrections to voluntarily disclose where a drug was obtained that is needed for Tuesday's scheduled execution of convicted killer Jeffrey Landrigan.
Attorneys for Landrigan, who is sentenced to die by lethal injection, have asked U.S. District Judge Roslyn O. Silver to stay Landrigan's execution until arguments can be heard on the source of sodium thiopental to be used in the execution.
The drug is one of three used in Arizona's lethal injection process.
The defense has questioned how corrections officials obtained the drug amid a nationwide shortage. Its sole U.S. manufacturer has said it is not currently producing any.
Landrigan's motion in federal court argues that the Arizona supply of thiopental may have been manufactured by a foreign source not approved by the Food and Drug Administration, creating a risk of cruel and unusual punishment if the drug does not act as it should.
Silver late Thursday ordered state officials to respond by noon today and asked them to "voluntarily provide detailed information concerning the sodium thiopental it intends to use in plaintiff's execution, including the manufacturer and expiration date."
"If defendants choose not to provide such information, their response to plaintiff's motion shall include an explanation why they will not or cannot provide this information and/or why such information is not relevant to disposition of plaintiff's motion," Silver wrote.
And, this paragraph references Arizona Assistant Attorney General Kent Cattani:
Evidence suggests it may have been obtained by a Phoenix import broker. Cattani told the court the drug was obtained lawfully.
The FDA on Thursday said that any company supplying thiopental, a barbiturate that is classified as a controlled substance, must first gain the agency's approval.
The FDA has no authority over whether the drug is used for executions, FDA spokeswoman Shelly Burgess said, but does have control over its manufacture and distribution in the U.S.
"However, FDA is not aware of any firm currently able to supply thiopental to the U.S.," she said in an e-mail Thursday. "A company would need to submit an application to FDA in order to be considered for approval including approval for overseas manufacturers of a drug for U.S. markets."
The AP report is, "Ariz. board holds pre-execution hearing for inmate," via KTAR-AM.
The Arizona Board of Executive Clemency on Friday hears pleas for leniency on behalf of a death row inmate who refused to let his trial lawyer call relatives to testify on his behalf during sentencing.
``I think if you want to give me the death penalty, just bring it right on. I'm ready for it,'' Jeffrey Landrigan told the sentencing judge in 1990.
Now, 20 years later, Landrigan is asking for commutation of his death sentence to life in prison and a reprieve - a temporary delay of his execution scheduled Tuesday.
And the judge who sentenced him says she'd have given life in prison instead of a death sentence if she had known then what she knows now about his background.
Landrigan won't personally attend the clemency hearing, which comes as his current defense team wages last-minute court battles on his behalf.
On one front, they're requesting a hearing on newly available hearing on DNA evidence that they contend would bolster Landrigan's innocence claim. They're also trying to bar the state from using an execution drug that could be from a foreign source.