Countdown to Wrongful Conviction Day: Friday, October 2, 2105; 6 days. For information: http://www.aidwyc.org/wcd-2015/
"Texas prison officials are helping their counterparts in Virginia prepare for a scheduled execution on Thursday by providing the state with pentobarbital, a lethal drug that corrections agencies nationwide have had difficulty obtaining. The disclosure, which surfaced in a court filing in an Oklahoma death penalty case, was confirmed Friday by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. Virginia prison officials also confirmed the trade, saying they needed pentobarbital to replace a dose of another drug they intended to use, midazolam, that will soon expire. A spokesman for Texas prisons, Jason Clark, said the three vials of pentobarbital given to Virginia had been legally purchased from a compounding pharmacy, which he declined to name. Texas and Oklahoma are among a handful of states with laws — being challenged by death penalty opponents — that allow prison officials not to disclose where they get execution drugs. Virginia prison officials gave Texas pentobarbital to use as a backup in 2013, and when Virginia asked for help this year, Mr. Clark said, “we reciprocated.” “The agency has not provided compounded drugs to any other state,” he said. Robert Dunham, the executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center, an anti-death penalty organization in Washington, said the drug exchange raised concerns about government transparency. “It puts a whole new spin on the efforts by state departments of corrections for secrecy in the execution process,” Mr. Dunham said. Lawyers for Richard Glossip, a condemned Oklahoma inmate, mentioned the Texas-Virginia drug exchange when challenging Oklahoma’s plan to use midazolam during Mr. Glossip’s scheduled execution by lethal injection this week. The powerful sedative achieved notoriety after it was used in executions that took longer than expected last year in Arizona, Ohio and Oklahoma. In the court filing on Thursday, which is part of a multitiered effort to stop Mr. Glossip’s execution, his lawyers argued that pentobarbital is one of Oklahoma’s preferred execution drugs. The lawyers cite the Virginia-Texas exchange as proof that the drug is available, and included a photo of what they said were three bottles of pentobarbital with April 2016 expiration dates in Texas’ possession. The lawyers said they had obtained the photo from the Virginia Department of Corrections through a Freedom of Information Act request. Mr. Glossip’s lawyers also assert in their filing that Texas is “compounding or producing pentobarbital within its department for use in executions.” Mr. Clark denied the allegation, saying the state agency has no authority to manufacture its own drugs. “We do not have a pharmacy license,” he said..........Texas has carried out 528 executions since 1982, far more than any other state. The last 24, going back to 2013, have used pentobarbital from a compounding pharmacy as the lone drug for lethal injections. Mr. Glossip was convicted of ordering the 1997 killing of his boss in Oklahoma City. Another man, Justin Sneed, admitted to the killing and said Mr. Glossip had offered him $10,000 to do it, which Mr. Glossip denies."