(Adds Texas Supreme Court move in final paragraph)
By Jon Herskovitz
March 28 The Louisiana Department of Corrections
does not plan to appeal a U.S. Court decision this week that
compels it to reveal to inmates on death row the content and
maker of drugs used in lethal injections, a prisons official
said on Friday.
The decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth
Circuit on Thursday was one in a series in favor of inmates who
have sought delays for their execution while they seek
information about the contents of lethal injection cocktails and
clarity on who would be supplying the drugs.
The decisions are likely to delay executions across the
country as lawyers for inmates in other states launch similar
efforts on their behalf in states looking to develop new means
of lethal injection after supplies of drugs they have once used
have run dry.
"The state will not appeal the decision," Darryl Campbell,
the executive management officer of the Louisiana Department of
Corrections, told Reuters. The attorney general's office did not
reply to calls seeking comment.
A three-judge panel for the Fifth Circuit rejected a
petition on Thursday from the prison system to keep information
about the drugs and how they would be administered secret from
Christopher Sepulvado and other death row inmates.
Sepulvado, convicted of scalding and beating his 6-year-old
stepson to death in 1992, was scheduled to be executed earlier
this year but the execution was delayed in February due to
questions about the lethal injection.
Several states have been scrambling to find new suppliers
and chemical combinations after drug makers, mostly in Europe,
imposed sales bans because they objected to having medications
made for other purposes being used in lethal injections.
The states said they have looked to alter the mix of drugs
used for lethal injections and keep the suppliers' identities
secret. They have also turned to lightly regulated compounding
Those pharmacies can mix drugs, often to meet needs not
available in prescription medication, the pharmacy compounding
accreditation board said.
But lawyers for death row inmates have argued that keeping
information secret was a violation of due process protections in
the U.S. Constitution. They also argued that drugs from
compounding pharmacies can lack purity and potency and cause
undue suffering, in violation of the Constitution.
So far, courts have decided in their favor, with an Oklahoma
judge ruling on Wednesday that the state's secrecy on its lethal
injections protocols was unconstitutional.
On Thursday, a Texas state judge ordered the department of
corrections to disclose the name of the supplier of drugs used
for two inmates scheduled to be executed in April. The state
plans an appeal and has argued it must keep the names secret to
protect its suppliers.
The Texas Supreme Court on Friday temporarily suspended the
decision to compel the prison system to reveal the source of the
lethal injection drugs to allow judges time to consider the
issue, the Houston Chronicle reported.
(Additional reporting by Lisa Maria Garza in Dallas; Editing by
Cynthia Johnston and Gunna Dickson)