TEXAS FINDS A SUBSTITUTE DRUG TO CARRY ON EXECUTIONS
March 16, 2011: The Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) announced today that it will switch to pentobarbital as part of its three-drug lethal injection protocol for the upcoming execution of Cleve Foster on April 5.
The short notice has drawn concerns from Foster's defense attorneys and lethal injection experts. Maurie Levin, a professor at the University of Texas who represents Foster, said, â€śPrison officials are not medical professionals. They cannot be trusted to change a medical procedure in the dark of night without public scrutiny, especially when there is such a minimal track record on the use of pentobarbital in lethal injections."
Prof. Deborah Denno of Fordham Law School, one of the nationâ€™s leading experts on the lethal injection, said that the â€śTexas decision was not about making executions more humane but was meant to make the process more feasible.â€ť She also pointed to the fact that the problems with the earlier methods of lethal injection arose because one state blindly followed another, without careful review: "This lemming-effect has created a decades-long pattern of lethal injection botches in which department of corrections try to remain one step ahead of lawsuits." (Sources: Associated Press, 16/03/2011)