The River Front Times reports, "Missouri Death Penalty: ACLU Casts Doubt on Doctor Slated to Execute Two Inmates," by Sam Levin.
As we reported last month, Missouri has set execution dates for two death row inmates, a major turning point in the drawn-out legal battles surrounding capital punishment in the state. Since the Missouri Supreme Court granted the state's request to schedule those executions, activists nationally have raised concerns about the planned use of propofol, a sedative that has never been used before to administer the death penalty.
And now, a local group critical of the death penalty is speaking out against a different part of the process -- directly targeting the doctor slated to carry out the execution.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Eastern Missouri says that the executioner is a certified anesthesiologist who has conducted at least one execution in the past. This is in direct violation, the ACLU argues, of the American Board of Anesthesiology standards, which prohibit certified anesthesiologists from participating in executions.
"You cannot be board-certified and participate in an execution," Jeffrey Mittman, ACLU-EM executive director, tells Daily RFT. "The state of Missouri should certainly be aware of this standard."
The ACLU last week sent a letter, full document on view below, to the American Board of Anesthesiology (ABA), asking it to suspend this Missouri execution doctor's board certification.
"Decision by Missouri to use propofol for capital punishment could affect local supply," is the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal report written by Ellysa Gonzalez.
Distribution of a drug popularly used in Lubbock and elsewhere to put patients to sleep for surgeries and procedures could be altered if Missouri uses it to execute two convicted killers in the coming months.
The decision by the Missouri Department of Corrections to use propofol has led a couple of the drug’s distributors to voice concerns using it for capital punishment is against their ethics and could jeopardize the European/American distribution relationship from overseas.
On Oct. 23, Allen Nicklasson is scheduled to be the first prisoner in the United States to be lethally injected with propofol, followed by Joseph Franklin on Nov. 20, Associated Press reports state.
Missouri Department of Corrections officials declined comment when asked if the drug was still going to be used in light of recent statements from Fresenius Kabi USA officials about jeopardizing distribution of propofol to the U.S. from European drug makers.
Phone calls and emails to the Missouri Attorney General’s Office and the Missouri Governor’s Office regarding the same topic went unanswered.
Manny said drug manufacturers strictly enforce guidelines for handling the drug.
Kuhn said Fresenius Kabi released statements in August 2012 regarding the product’s distribution.
“Last year we did restrict the distribution of the product,” he said. “We sent a notice to limit the number of distributors. We do not want this product sent to any department of corrections in the U.S.”
The statements are similar to Hospira’s distribution guidelines.
“Hospira makes its products to enhance and save the lives of the patients we serve, and, therefore, we have always publicly objected to the use of any of our products in capital punishment,” Rosenberg wrote. “Consistent with our goal of providing our customers uninhibited access to our products while restricting distribution for unintended uses, Hospira has implemented a restricted distribution system under which Hospira and its distributors have ceased the direct sale to U.S. prison hospitals of certain products, including propofol, that we believe are part of some states’ lethal injection protocols.”