« "Violence will rise as climate changes, scientists predict" | Main | Condemned Ohio inmate takes care of his own execution a few days early »

August 3, 2013

With seven executions scheduled, Texas running out of needed drugs

As this AP story reports, Texas is on the verge of having problems already facing other states with expired or expiring execution drugs.  Here are the details:

The nation's most active death penalty state is running out of its execution drug. The Texas Department of Criminal Justice said Thursday that its remaining supply of pentobarbital expires in September and that no alternatives have been found. It wasn't immediately clear whether two executions scheduled for next month would be delayed. The state has already executed 11 death-row inmates this year, and at least seven more have execution dates in coming months.

"We will be unable to use our current supply of pentobarbital after it expires," agency spokesman Jason Clark said. "We are exploring all options at this time."

Texas switched to the lethal, single-dose sedative last year after one of the drugs used in its three-drug execution process became difficult to obtain and the state's supply expired. Other death-penalty states have encountered similar problems after some drug suppliers barred the drugs' use for executions or have refused, under pressure from death-penalty opponents, to sell or manufacture drugs for use in executions....

"When Texas raises a flag that's it having a problem, obviously numerically it's significant around in the country because like they're doing half the executions in the country right now," Richard Dieter, executive director of the Washington-based Death Penalty Information Center, an anti-death penalty organization, said Thursday....

Some death penalty states, most recently Georgia, have announced they're turning to compounding pharmacies, which make customized drugs that are not scrutinized by the Federal Drug Administration, to obtain a lethal drug for execution use.

Missouri wants to use propofol, the anesthetic blamed for pop star Michael Jackson's 2009 death - even though the drug hasn't been used to execute prisoners in the U.S. Its potential for lethal injection is under scrutiny by the courts and its first use isn't likely anytime soon. The Missouri Supreme Court has declined to allow execution dates to be set in that state until the legal issues are resolved.

Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster recently suggested that if a suitable execution drug can't be found, the state should consider the gas chamber. State law still allows for execution by lethal gas, though Missouri no longer even has a gas chamber....

Texas has by far executed more inmates than any other state in the U.S. since the Supreme Court allowed executions to resume. Since 1982, six years after the high court's order, Texas has executed 503 inmates. Virginia is a distant second at 110.

August 3, 2013 at 05:29 PM | Permalink


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference With seven executions scheduled, Texas running out of needed drugs:


We are assured that the death penalty is so very supported by the general population, so why is such pressure so problematic? Can't they get the stuff domestically somehow? There should be a means to avoid this sort of thing. I still continue to think that long term, a solution will be found.

Use of the gas chamber seems likely to cause problems, even if I thought the courts would ultimately uphold its use under the 8A. Have they thought about the firing squad? One thing we will never in the immediate future have a shortage of in this country will be bullets.

Posted by: Joe | Aug 3, 2013 7:02:24 PM

There exist methods that are better than shooting or injecting , albeit some squirm over the ick or aesthetic factor .

Posted by: Just Plain Jim | Aug 4, 2013 5:33:31 AM

Propofol is a great drug in the hands of anesthesiologists, with almost no side effects. It could easily replace pentobarbital. Small problem. The vile lawyer traitor has driven it off the market in the United States.

Isn't it time to strike back at these horrible traitors?

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Aug 4, 2013 11:43:52 AM

Is Jim a guillotine guy?

Posted by: Joe | Aug 4, 2013 1:00:23 PM

As a toast to a modest proposal, why not outsource the job? Beheading probably works well on occasion and the Mexican cartels have a lot of practice. If that isn't modest enough, they can probably get any killer drug anyone wants.

Posted by: George | Aug 4, 2013 5:08:00 PM

Thou Shalt Not Kill! No exception for Y'all can or Oil Can Boyd.

Posted by: Liberty1st | Aug 4, 2013 9:56:04 PM

Lib: This is a secular nation. Peddle your cheap religious propaganda to Venezuela. While the Ten Commandments may be shown in a courtroom lobby for traditional, it is impermissible as a policy guide. That would be as offensive to the Establishment Clause as the Sharia. I have read the Sharia, and 90% of it is pretty good. But screams would go up if I suggested it as guidance.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Aug 4, 2013 10:23:38 PM

Poor right-winger, pro-death penalty folks on this blog. S.C., you must be really upset. Defense lawyers actually doing their jobs--fighting zealously every day for their clients lives, raising every conceivable issue. Hey, they're even stopping the Texas death train. Kudos to the defense bar. If Jesus had had one of these guys or gals defending him, the world would be a different place.

Posted by: anti- dp and loving it | Aug 5, 2013 12:19:01 AM

Anti: Only prayer remains, because the legal system is hopelessly biased against the victim.

I pray you get attacked by a client, fully immunized by the lawyer with LWOP. They will suspend his cafeteria privileges, as a guard supervisor said after one of your clients killed a female prison guard.

I pray the death penalty is ended in your state so you lose your worthless government make work job.

I pray you try to say the V word, and choke, and an ambulance has to be called.

I pray the families of murder victims form direct action groups, and give pro lawyer rent seeking judges 20 lashes, tie them to trees outside the court for all employees to see arriving to work. To deter.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Aug 5, 2013 1:33:59 AM

anti-dp and loving it --

"Kudos to the defense bar. If Jesus had had one of these guys or gals defending him, the world would be a different place."

Just so. Under Christian doctrine, Jesus's death was the sacrifice that redeemed mankind from Original Sin. Without it, the human race would remain unredeemed, and would be even worse off than it is now.

Glad you thought that one through.

P.S. Do people actually say "gals" anymore?

Posted by: Bill Otis | Aug 5, 2013 8:19:47 AM

Bill Otis, you write that "Under Christian doctrine, Jesus's death was the sacrifice that redeemed mankind from Original Sin. Without it, the human race would remain unredeemed, and would be even worse off than it is now. Glad you thought that one through."

Christian (and Jewish and Muslim) doctrine is nonsense and make believe--just like the gods in the Odyssey and the Iliad. In any event, hard do believe that without the death of Jesus, mankind would better off than now. Had Jesus been acquitted, there would have been no Christianity, no Crusades, no Inquisition, no hundreds of thousands of deaths from Christian-Muslim slaughters, no hundreds of thousands of deaths from the 100 years war, the various protestant-Catholic slaughters through the centuries, no catholic slaughters of native South-Americans, and no relentless expulsion,persecution and slaughter of the Jews, culminating in the Holocaust.

Bill, glad you thought that one through.

Posted by: lapsed Catholic | Aug 5, 2013 12:13:08 PM

lapsed Catholic --

1. I notice that you do not dispute my statement of what Christian doctrine teaches.

2. Kindly point to the passage in which I said that I accept Christian doctrine, or that I follow any religion. You're not about to do so, since I have never said on this blog what religion, if any, I follow.

3. I would tell you to think it through, but you're not ready for that, since you need to learn how to read first.

4. I will tell you, however, that, unlike you, I am not an anti-Catholic bigot.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Aug 5, 2013 7:09:41 PM

I would add to Bill Otis' last comment (leaving out 3/4) that even if you don't believe Jesus is Christ and so forth, it is probable some form of religion would have developed akin to the Roman Catholic Church. And, Nazis didn't need Jesus being Savior to justify genocide. They would have found a way, probably.

As to a [clearly open to dispute] commentary of the death penalty thru the lens of Christian doctrine, I again recommend the volume written by friend of Prof. Berman, Mark Osler.

Posted by: Joe | Aug 5, 2013 11:26:06 PM

Post a comment

In the body of your email, please indicate if you are a professor, student, prosecutor, defense attorney, etc. so I can gain a sense of who is reading my blog. Thank you, DAB