"Ohio prosecutors demand immunity for execution drug makers," is the AP report filed by Andrew Welsh-Huggins, via the Guardian. It's also available from HuffPost.
Ohio prosecutors want the identities of pharmacists who create specialty doses of execution drugs shielded, and say doctors who consult with Ohio about its execution process should be given immunity from regulatory discipline.
The proposals, which appear in draft legislation, address concerns about the state’s current two-drug injection method, said John Murphy, executive director of the Ohio Prosecuting Attorneys Association.
Executions are on hold until February because of challenges to the method, which has resulted in prolonged executions in Ohio and Arizona. Without a viable way of executing prisoners, “we don’t have a death penalty in the state,” Murphy said Thursday.
If enacted, the laws would bring Ohio into line with states like Missouri and Texas, which each use a single, compounded dose of pentobarbital to put inmates to death. The states won’t say where the drug comes from.
Alan Johnson writes, "Proposal would make executions more secretive," for the Columbus Dispatch.
Changes in Ohio’s lethal-injection law advocated by Attorney General Mike DeWine and Ohio prosecutors would create a new layer of secrecy around Ohio executions by shielding drug suppliers, physicians who advise the state, execution team members and others from public disclosure.
DeWine and the prosecutors say the state will in effect have a moratorium on capital punishment until those changes are made because of the difficulty in obtaining drugs used to execute convicted killers.
The legal changes, in draft form, were endorsed last week by the Ohio Prosecuting Attorneys Association.
If enacted, they would allow drug-compounding companies to supply drugs for lethal injections while remaining anonymous to the public, media and defense attorneys, The Dispatch learned. The proposal would officially label as “confidential state secrets” the names of those who manufacture, compound, import, transport, test and distribute drugs and equipment used in lethal injections.
Also contemplated is a law providing total legal immunity for a physician to advise the state on execution protocol at court hearings and possibly even become a part of the execution team. Another provision would extend anonymity to state prison employees on the execution team.
Earlier coverage of the Ohio Attorney General's secrecy proposal begins at the link.
With this post, I'm adding state secrecy to the category index.