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May 3, 2011

Texas becomes third state to use new drug in lethal injection execution

As detailed in this new Reuters piece, "Texas on Tuesday carried out its first execution using a sedative often used to euthanize animals." Here is more:

Cary Kerr, 46, was put to death by lethal injection for the 2001 sexual assault and strangling of Pamela Horton. The new drug, pentobarbital, replaced sodium thiopental in Texas' three-drug execution protocol.

The change was necessary because Hospira Inc. of Illinois announced in January it would stop making the sodium thiopental after Italy objected to Hospira manufacturing an execution drug in that country. That caused a shortage of the drug throughout the United States. Ohio and Oklahoma have already switched to use of pentobarbital in executions.

Another Texas inmate, Cleve Foster, had been scheduled to be the first person in the state executed using the new drug last month. But Foster received a temporary stay of execution from the U.S. Supreme Court over concerns his state-appointed lawyers were ineffective.

May 3, 2011 at 10:02 PM | Permalink


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I'm somewhat surprised they kept any three drug protocol, rather than just switching to a single large barbiturate dose (like Ohio), but oh well.

Maybe the Texas administrative procedure makes substituting the anesthetic while keeping the other two easier, less hearing required or notice or some such.

Posted by: Soronel Haetir | May 4, 2011 9:37:27 AM

Hopefully, the Cleve Foster stay comes to an end on May 15. It's about time SCOTUS rectified the succor it gave to a vicious criminal who had exhausted all of his appeals, and then who did not timely file a motion for rehearing on an extra appeal.

Speaking of irresponsible courts, the Third Circuit, in the face of Beard v. Kindler, decided to overturn Kindler's death sentence. Apparently, the spectacle of a federal court saying, in effect, that Pennsylvania had no right to apply the fugitive disentitlement doctrine to Kindler's case was not enough to overcome the learned jurists' desire to save a murderer for execution.

What is it about federal judges and the death penalty?

Posted by: federalist | May 4, 2011 8:15:34 PM

there are numerous federal judges who don't like the death penalty. We all know who they are. They will find any error possible to overturn the sentence regardless of AEDPA. Fortunately, SCOTUS steps in most of the time to reverse. The 3rd Circuit finds error in almost every PA case it has ever received. However, they have affirmed many Delaware cases and upheld their LI protocol.

I noticed Foster's case was up for conference on 5/12. I seriously doubt a grant of cert, but...

As I have posted before, I contracted a job with a federal district judge years ago and we spoke at length on the DP. His favorite quote was: "Sentencing someone to death is one thing, carrying it out is another."

Posted by: DaveP | May 4, 2011 8:38:31 PM

read the 9th circuit's enbanc decision in Doody v Ryan handed down today

Posted by: DaveP | May 4, 2011 8:48:04 PM

Doody is interesting. I think I come down on Kozinski's side more than anyone's--it's close. Very close. What irks me the most about Kindler is that the court simply refuses to take a step back. There's caselaw about comity, about habeas being only available to those whom society has grievously harmed. And none of that matters. It's a slap in the face. Plus, and I'll have to look at this, it looks like Kindler got a lot of benefit from escaping.

Posted by: federalist | May 4, 2011 9:19:57 PM

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