The Guardian posts, "US executions face more uncertainty as expert refuses to defend drug protocols," by Jessica Glenza.
The decision of America’s leading expert on lethal injection drugs to stop offering court testimony has left at least one state without a single witness to defend its execution procedures from legal challenges.
The New Republic reported this week that Dr Mark Dershwitz, citing potential impacts to his profession as a board-certified anesthesiologist, would no longer act as an expert witness on behalf of lethal injection protocols. Dershwitz, also a doctor of pharmacology and professor at the University of Massachusetts medical school, has testified as an expert witness in more than 20 states and for the federal government. In June, he withdrew himself as a witness in a case challenging the execution of Montana’s two death-row inmates – convicted murderers Ronald Smith and William Jay Gollehon.
Dershwitz “has been, for over a decade, probably the most important state’s expert in this particular area”, said Deborah W Denno, an execution expert at Fordham law school.
“I think states are going to be scrambling for lethal injection experts in the same way they’ve been scrambling for drugs,” said Denno, referring to states’ lack of pentobarbital, a barbiturate used to treat epilepsy that is deadly in certain doses. “They don’t have any people testifying on their behalf.”
Earlier coverage of Dershwitz's withdrawal from cases begins at the link.