Death Penalty

The State of Texas Is Holding Out

The state of Texas wants to reassure you that they still have plenty of pentobarbital for administering lethal injection executions to mentally-retarded people for the foreseeable future, according to Jason Clark, spokesman for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.

Speaking about Texas’s planned method for tonight’s execution of Arturo Diaz, the man convicted of killing Michael Ryan Nichols in 1999 over a $100 debt to a stripper, spokesman Jason Clark, stated, “We have not changed our current execution protocol and have no immediate plans to do so.” Clark also assures us that this will not be an expired dose. So, are you holding out on us, Texas?

In August, Texas officials said they would run out the controversial drug this month after the maker of the drug stopped selling it to U.S. prisons as of 2012. Because we strap people to tables and put them to death with it. The company, Lunbeck, received an award for ethics for doing so. Reprieve spokesperson Maya Foa said at the time:

“Lundbeck’s action has changed the landscape of corporate social responsibility in the pharmaceutical industry. Many pharmaceutical companies lament the use of their medicines in executions – Lundbeck didn’t just lament it, they took active steps to prevent it. In short, they were true to the values of their profession, and this Award is testament to their efforts.”

This, after Hospira, the company that manufactured the former lethal injection drug of choice, sodium thiopental, were forced to halt distribution to U.S. prisons after they moved their operations from North Carolina to Italy. The Italian constitution bans capital punishment and barred the company from exporting the drug without proper monitoring.

This is also after pancuronium bromide, one of the three drugs used in previous lethal injection cocktails began to run dry, as shortages left our infallible justice system scrambling to seek new ways to administer death.

A psychologist testified during Arturo Diaz’s trial that he had “suffered head trauma as a result of being knocked unconscious during fights and having been in a car accident, all of which could impair his ability to control and regulate his judgment and perceive reality.”

The psychologist also testified that Diaz has a low-average intelligence, the verbal ability of an 11-year-old, and a history of anti-social behavior as a child, according to the account.

This will be Texas’s 13th execution this year, accounting for nearly half of the 27 executions in America.