"Calif. defies order to turn over execution drug," is the AP report, via the Stockton Record.
California on Friday joined other states in defying a federal government order to turn over a key execution drug.
At issue is the drug sodium thiopental, one of three drugs California and dozens of other states use in lethal injections. It puts the inmate to sleep before fatal doses of two other drugs are delivered. California and others have been purchasing the drug oversees since the United States' sole manufacturer ceased production of the anesthetic in 2011.
U.S. District Judge Richard Leon in March ruled that the Food and Drug Administration erred in allowing the prisons to import the foreign-made drug. The judge ordered the FDA to confiscate all foreign-made sodium thiopental and to warn prisons that it was now illegal to use the drug. The FDA followed the Washington D.C.-based judge's order and sent demand letters to prisons. But beginning with Nebraska on April 20, more than a dozen states have refused to comply with the FDA order.
On Friday, California joined the protest in a letter sent to the FDA. With 725 Death Row inmates, California has the highest number of condemned prisoners.
California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation lawyer Benjamin Rice and the other states with foreign-bought sodium thiopental contend they aren't bound by the ruling made by a federal judge in Washington D.C.
Earlier coverage of Judge Leon's ruling and the FDA litigation begins with the preceding post.