ProPublica posts, "A Prolonged Stay: The Reasons Behind the Slow Pace of Executions," by Raymond Bonner. He's the author of the 2012 book, Anatomy of Injustice: A Murder Case Gone Wrong. This extensive report is a must-read. Here's the beginning:
States that impose the death penalty have been facing a crisis in recent years: They are short on the drugs used in executions.
In California, which has the country's largest death row population, the chief justice of the state supreme court has said there are unlikely to be any executions for three years, in part due to the shortage of appropriate lethal drugs. As a result, state prosecutors are calling for a return of the gas chamber.
Ohio, which is second only to Texas in the number of executions carried out since 2010, said it will run out of the drug it uses in executions, pentobarbital, on Sept. 30. The state has two men scheduled for execution in November, and eight more set to be killed after that. Every state's supply of pentotbarbital, which has been the principal execution drug, expires at the end of November.
The shortage has forced death penalty states to scramble on two fronts: They are hunting for new suppliers or different drugs to use, and enacting changes to public records laws to keep the names of suppliers and manufacturers of those alternative drugs secret.
The lack of lethal drugs, and the fight over keeping new ones secret, are partly the result of a remarkably effective campaign by opponents of the death penalty, who have, in effect, taken their efforts from the court room to the boardroom.
Earlier coverage of the availability of lethal injection drugs begins at the link. Related posts are in the lethal injection and international category indexes.
Notable posts include:
- The Arkansas Lethal Injection Drugs
- Scott Christianson on a California Legislator's Push to Bring Back Gas
- Nebraska Lethal Injection Drug News
- Georgia Lethal Injection Drug Legislation
- News Coverage of DC Court of Appeals Oral Arguments
- Drugmaker to Block Sales of Propofol for Use in Executions
- Ohio Executes & Steps Up Search for Pentobarbital
- More on the Georgia Lethal Injection Drug Supply
- European Concerns Over Drugs Used in Lethal Injection Executions