"An execution in Texas was a moral failure and a legal one," is by Scott Martelle in the Los Angeles Times Opinion LA blog.
And the moral failure of the execution was compounded by a legal one.
The issue hinges on who compounds the drugs to be used in the execution. Several states, including Texas, have laws or policies that ban the public identification of the drug source. The states say it is to protect suppliers from public backlash, though there is thin evidence of any such threat, as the Associated Press reports. The bans do give the suppliers cover from public scrutiny, which is also a misapplication of governmental secrecy laws. These businesses are contractors selling supplies to a governmental entity. Their identities and the costs to the public treasury should be open to examination, as should the process under which the drugs were procured.
But the more significant issue here is that the condemned are denied the right to know the specific method of execution. Yes, they know they will be killed by lethal injection. But these drugs are being prepared by compounding pharmacies with inconsistent procedures, which raises legitimate questions about whether the compounded drugs (a process of tailoring pharmaceuticals for specific patients) will cause excessive pain, and thus violate the 8th Amendment ban on cruel and unusual punishment.
Earlier coverage of the Texas execution begins at the link.