We’ve been monitoring how it’s getting harder and harder to execute people in this country by lethal injection because the lethal drugs for the lethal injection just aren’t available to the states any longer, or at least not much supply is left.
There’s been chatter about returning to earlier forms of execution (like the firing squad or the electric chair), things are getting so bad for the executioners out there.
That’s a big jump for many, though: returning to those old, historic methods when everyone seems to prefer using a syringe and a gurney. So deals have been made for the stuff.
Texas: “Nevermind” Says Pentobarbital Supplier
Recently, over in Texas, a quiet deal was made between a Texas compounding pharmacy and the State of Texas to provide the needed pentobarbital supply for lethal injections; however, as soon as the identity of the supplier was made public, the company wanted to nix the deal and asked the State of Texas to return the pentobarbital it had purchased.
The letter sent by Jasper Lovoi, owner of The Woodlands Compounding Pharmacy, to the Texas Department of Justice can be read in its entirety online, courtesy of Grits for Breakfast.
Here’s the gist of it, quoting from Lovoi’s letter:
… Now that this information has been made public, I find myself in the middle of a firestorm that I was not advised of and did not bargain for. Had I known that this information would be made public, which the State implied it would not, I never would have agreed to provide the drugs to TDCJ…. I must demand that TDCJ immediately return the vials of compounded pentobarbital in exchange for a refund. … Otherwise I may have to ask the Court in the prisoners’ lawsuit to consider my concerns.
Texas’ response? Too bad, so sad, Mr. Lovoi.
The State of Texas has refused his request to return the pentobarbital – and Mr. Lovoi may be stuck here because, as Grits points out, no matter the implications in his phone conversations with agency representatives, the Texas Public Information Act provides for the disclosure of the drug supplier.
Now, Texas has enough pentobarbital to complete its execution schedule for 2013.
Florida: A Whole Different Ballgame
While Texas is satisfied with a compounding pharmacy’s pentobarbital for its lethal injection executions, the State of Florida is opting for another chemical altogether in this Lethal Drug Shortage. This week, the Florida Department of Corrections will be using a brand-new, never before tried execution method in the execution of William Happ, a 27-year resident of Florida’s Death Row.
The Florida alternative is midazolam hydrochloride, sold under the name “Versed.” Versed is a drug used in hospitals as a sedative before someone has surgery; it has never before been used in any execution.
Unless something happens to halt things, which is unlikely since Mr. Happ has waived any additional legal appeals on his behalf to halt the execution, the State of Florida will use this new execution method, midazolam hydrochloride, on Mr. Happ in an execution scheduled for tomorrow (October 15, 2013).
Image: William Happ is scheduled to die tomorrow through the use of a lethal drug injection using a drug never before used on humans for this purpose.