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June 21, 2011

New effort in Georgia to stop execution by going after doctor involved in lethal injection

As detailed in this Atlanta Journal-Constitution article, "days before Georgia is to execute a Savannah man in the murder of a 78-year-old woman, a human rights group is asking the state to revoke the license of a doctor who sometimes participates in lethal injections." Here is more:

Roy Blankenship is scheduled to die by lethal injection Thursday for the 1978 murder of Sarah Mims Bowen, who was beaten to death. She was found in the bedroom in her house just a block away from where Blankenship lived. Police followed bloody footprints to Blankenship's house.

On Monday, the Southern Center for Human Rights filed a complaint with the Georgia Composite Medical Board alleging that Dr. Carlo Anthony Musso illegally helped Kentucky and Tennessee secure a scarce sedative used in a three-drug cocktail for executions, sodium thiopental. The only U.S.-based manufacturer of the sedative announced in January that it was no longer making the drug.

The group said in its filing that Musso, who owns CorrectHealth and Rainbow Medical Associates, secured some of the drug and then sold it to at least two other states even though he was not registered with the Georgia Board of Pharmacy or the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration to ship sodium thiopental across state lines. “Dr. Musso violated a host of state and federal criminal laws,” the Southern Center for Human Rights wrote.

Musso, who could not be reached Monday, has denied selling drugs to Kentucky or Tennessee.

June 21, 2011 at 11:51 AM | Permalink


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When having failed in the attempt to go after the issue, go after the person instead.

Real class there.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jun 21, 2011 1:16:15 PM

I used to think that 5 liberal (criminal defendant loving) Supreme Court justices would end the death penalty. Now it appears that anti-death penalty activists who are putting pressure on drug companies to stop making the drugs used in a lethal injection and going after the participants in executions may stop the death penalty.

Posted by: justice seeker | Jun 21, 2011 2:09:44 PM

justice seeker

yes, the anti DP activists realized that lethal injection was eventually going to be upheld everywhere because of Baze and are focusing on the drugs being banned. The state of Kentucky just happened to have the first bench trial regarding lethal injection protocol and that has been beneficial to other states. Not Kentucky though. Over 3 years since Baze and no executions in sight.

Arkansas, Missouri, Delaware, and Tennessee are still in court with problems to this day.

I wonder how this is going to play out with the drug suppliers attempting to stop the states from using their products.

I remember the part of Baze Justice Roberts wrote about the death penalty being constitutional and "It necessarily follows that there must be a way of carrying it out." We will see.

Posted by: DaveP | Jun 21, 2011 3:31:26 PM

Dear Bill,

There's them that have real class...and there's them who are real asses. I'd say the latter are fair game to be called out

Now - in a dazzling display of ad hominem pragmatism - please hit back, OK?

Posted by: Sultan Pepper | Jun 21, 2011 4:22:58 PM

Sultan Pepper --

In order to hit back, there has to be a target.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jun 21, 2011 4:45:25 PM

Not to mention North Carolina and California.

Posted by: MikeinCT | Jun 21, 2011 5:13:18 PM


Good job...so far.

Now please go for the last word.

Posted by: Sultan Pepper | Jun 21, 2011 5:36:47 PM

Sultan Pepper --

First, if you ever have a substantive argument to make, feel free. There are those who think it enhances the site. Are you among them?

Second, you should know better than to think there is any such thing as a "last word" here.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jun 21, 2011 5:50:43 PM


yes. Please don't get me going on California's gross incompetence in this matter. They are in a class by themselves.

Posted by: DaveP | Jun 21, 2011 6:35:08 PM

If lawyers are participating in the process of going after the doctor personally, even though the doctor's conduct isn't illegal (even if the lawyers don't like it), are the lawyers beyond bar discipline simply because their work is being submitted to a state medical board, rather than to a court or the state's bar disciplinary authorities?

Aren't there civil causes of action the doctor could pursue against the individuals -- whether or not lawyers -- who are seeking to take his medical license as a way to achieve a political objective they haven't been able to achieve straightforwardly through the legal process? If there are, it seems to me that the people who think the lawyer's personal livelihood is fair game shouldn't be surprised or have cause to complain when process servers start showing up at their homes and offices.

Posted by: guest | Jun 22, 2011 3:30:55 PM

guest, actually, the lawyers are allegaing that the doctor violated state and federal laws by shipping that medication without having the appropriate FDA registration. Professor Berman's headline is misleading - whether the doctor shipped the drug across state lines without being registered has nothing to do with the death penalty. Yes, the doctor has denied breaking the law, but since when do we conclude that no crime took place simply because the suspect denied it?

Posted by: virginia | Jun 23, 2011 5:22:43 PM

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