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, âPrison 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 nationâs leading experts on the lethal injection, said that the âTexas decision was not about making executions more humane but was meant to make the process more feasible.â 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)