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Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Ind. Gov't. - More on "Indiana plan to use untested sedative in executions draws opposition from drug maker, attorney"

Updating this ILB post from Monday, Lafayette Journal Courier columnist Dave Bangert has a long, important article today headed "The bad business of Indiana executions." A sample:

Putting people to death isn’t so good for business, it seems.

Not that Indiana is listening, yet. Which is surprising. Because if there’s one thing the General Assembly and the governor’s office can get behind, it’s catering to the call of a corporate complaint.

But as a New Jersey company flinches over its drug being held up as a makeshift substitute in this state’s death row executions, Indiana has reached another time for when the General Assembly and Gov. Mike Pence need to ask: Is the death penalty really worth it?

As if a business begging, “Please, don’t use our product that way,” isn’t enough, consider the price in every other way — ethically, judicially and in dollars and cents. Capital punishment keeps getting harder to buy as ultimate justice. And not just because companies don’t want their products used to put down another killer.

In the past week, Par Pharmaceutical started protesting after Indiana Department of Correction officials said they planned to use the anesthetic Brevital as the first of three stages in the state’s execution. The state put Brevital into the mix after having trouble getting, as other states have had, sodium thiopental, a barbiturate that was last made in the United States in 2011 by the company Hospira.

Another quote, from later in the column:
Department of Correction officials so far have been unmoved by the company or by lawyers for Michael Dean Overstreet, one of 13 murderers on Indiana’s death row and likely next in line to be Indiana’s first prisoner put to death since 2009. Doug Garrison, DOC spokesman, said Brevital would work as intended — put someone into a deep and painless sleep, allowing deadlier drugs to do their work.

The chance that DOC is wrong on this account and that the next execution will play out, slow, lingering and torturous, the way the botched one for Oklahoma death row inmate Clayton Lockett did in late April, is real enough to force state leaders to ask for more than cocky assurances and ignored drug labels.

That should be enough for Pence to back away slowly by issuing a moratorium on executions in Indiana, one of 32 states with the death penalty.

And it should be just one more reason for members of the General Assembly to add Indiana to the list of states that have repealed the death penalty.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on June 4, 2014 09:08 AM
Posted to Indiana Government