Why are Texas authorities in such a hurry to execute ?
Tue Apr 5, 2011 12:36
State secrets Why are Texas authorities in such a hurry to execute this prisoner? Copyright 2011, HOUSTON CHRONICLE April 4, 2011, 8:52PM
Texas inmate Cleve Foster is due to be executed this evening, but we hope that Gov. Rick Perry will grant him the 30-day reprieve his attorneys have requested — not a pardon, not a commutation, just 30 days to answer a lot of troubling questions. This is not about Foster's guilt or innocence. It's about the Texas Department of Criminal Justice and its unconscionable delays, secrecy and potential illegalities in implementing the first substantive change to its execution protocol since 1982.
This came about because sodium thiopental, one of the three drugs used in executions, is no longer produced in the U.S., and Texas has opted to substitute pentobarbital, a sedative most commonly used to euthanize animals. Foster's attorneys had been pleading for information on how TDCJ planned to proceed since last November. But it was not until March 16 that TDCJ announced its plans.
Yesterday, Foster's lawyers asked Perry for a 30-day reprieve, citing "serious concerns" at the timing of the decision, which was made "behind closed doors, without public input and with cursory and one-sided consideration of the benefits and risks." They have ample cause to believe so. As reported by the Texas Tribune, public documents showed that TDCJ officials did not consult medical or pharmaceutical professionals, but relied on news and online accounts of another state's recent use of pentobarbital in making their decision to switch.
Other newly released documents showed that TDCJ's registration number under which execution drugs are purchased — a critical element of the federal Drug Enforcement Administration's ability to monitor the purchase and use of controlled substances — is registered to the Huntsville Unit Hospital, which has been closed since 1983.
In a recent letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, co-counsels Maurie Levin and Sandra Babcock argued that these substances are not being received by a hospital, or kept by any medical facilities, but by unauthorized prison personnel. "The potential for abuse is rampant," they wrote.
As the letter states, the requested reprieve "is in the interest of all who believe in the importance of open government." We couldn't agree more, and we strongly urge Gov. Perry to grant it.
Apr 4th, 2011 Posted by Anna Arceneaux, Capital Punishment Projectat CAPITAL PUNISHMENT Texas Execution Tomorrow Risks Needless Pain and Suffering Tomorrow, Texas plans to execute Cleve Foster using... more
Why are Texas authorities in such a hurry to execute ? Petra.,Tue Apr 5 12:36