Sunday's Fort Worth Star-Telegram published the editorial, "Greg Abbott switches position on Death Row drugs sources."
Abbott told officials of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice on Thursday that they “must withhold the identifying information of the pharmacy and pharmacist” that are the state’s latest source of the drug used in death penalty cases.
It’s understandable that the latest case might be different. The death penalty is fraught with controversy, and circumstances change rapidly where emotions run high.
But what exactly has changed? Texans are left to guess.
According to Abbott’s letter to TDCJ, a “threat assessment” from the Texas Department of Public Safety is what caused him to change his mind this time. But DPS won’t release that assessment or say whether any pharmacies are in danger or what the agency might be doing to investigate.
A TDCJ spokesman told The Associated Press it’s all “law enforcement sensitive information.”
Understandably, attorneys for Death Row inmates are sensitive about it, too.
AP reports, "Texas Won't Detail Threats Behind Drug Reversal," by Nomaan Merchant. It's via ABC News.
Texas law enforcement officials are refusing to say what threats were behind a key letter that led the state attorney general to reverse his long-held position that the identity of Texas' execution drug provider should be made public.
The Texas Department of Public Safety's one-page letter was cited Thursday by the Texas Attorney General's Office, which ruled state prison officials could keep its provider a secret. On Friday, the Department of Public Safety called any details about threats "law enforcement sensitive information," refusing to say if any pharmacies were in danger or what the agency was doing to investigate.
Anti-death penalty advocates have accused Texas and other states of trumping up threats to avoid disclosing their providers. So far, state and local law enforcement agencies have said little publicly about why they feel pharmacies are in danger.
The state prison system has long argued that safety concerns required it to keep suppliers' information private. Three times, Attorney General Greg Abbott's office refused the Texas Department of Criminal Justice's requests, saying the agency hadn't done enough to prove a threat.
In one of those opinions, issued two years ago, the office said that "while we acknowledge the department's concerns, we find you have not established disclosure of the responsive information would create a substantial threat of physical harm to any individual."
Earlier coverage of the Texas Attorney General's open records decision begins at the link.