| AUSTIN, Texas, March 27
AUSTIN, Texas, March 27 A Texas state judge
ordered the department of corrections on Thursday to disclose
the name of the supplier of drugs used in executions, a decision
that adds support to calls for removing secrecy when it comes to
The suit was brought on behalf of two inmates scheduled to
be executed next month and was filed at about the same time a
judge in neighboring Oklahoma ruled on Wednesday that the
state's secrecy on its lethal injections protocols was
"The (Texas) ruling signals - as other courts have done
recently - that it is unacceptable to keep prisoners or the
public in the dark regarding how executions are carried out -
including the source of the drugs," said Maurie Levin, an
attorney for the petitioners.
The Texas Attorney General's office plans to appeal the
The Texas Department of Criminal Justice said in a
statement: "We are disappointed in the district court's decision
and will be appealing the ruling to a higher court."
The department has said it wanted to keep the name of its
new supplier secret to shield it from attacks.
The previous supplier cut ties to the system last year when
its name was revealed and it came under threats.
The decision was for the two inmates scheduled to be
executed with a new batch of the sedative pentobarbital, used
for lethal injections.
It should have no impact for an execution scheduled on
Thursday at the state's death chamber in Huntsville, with the
lethal injection drug having been obtained earlier.
Texas, which has executed more prisoners than any other
state since the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty
in 1976, said this month it had obtained a new batch of the
execution drugs, without saying where the drugs had come from.
Several other states have struggled to obtain drugs for
executions, while many pharmaceutical companies, mostly in
Europe, have imposed sales bans because they object to having
medications made for other purposes 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
pharmacies. 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 argue that drugs from
compounding pharmacies can lack purity and potency and cause
undue suffering, in violation of the U.S. Constitution.
(editing by Gunna Dickson)