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News Scan

South Dakota Weighs Execution Change: John Hult from AL Media reports on how the supply shortage of lethal injection drugs has caused South Dakota to consider a one-drug lethal injection protocol.  On September 23, the DEA advised South Dakota, among other states, against using foreign-produced sodium thiopental due to concerns about its importation. As a result, several states switched to the substitute chemical pentobarbital for the three drug protocol. Lundbeck, the Danish company that makes pentobarbital, ceased sales to states that utilize lethal injection in August. Kent Scheidegger noted that most states bought up large supplies of pentobarbital before Lundbeck's decision to restrict sales and aren't in danger of shortages in the near future. South Dakota's shortage makes it the first state to have to delay executions due to this restriction.

Supreme Court Reviews Strip Searches In Jail: The Supreme Court heard arguments Wednesday in Florence v. Board of Chosen Freeholders of Burlington County, involving a challenge to strip searches in jails and whether jailers should required to  meet some new standard before such searches are allowed. The issue has been raised in the case of Albert Florence, who was arrested on a warrant for an unpaid traffic fine and strip-searched in two county jails. The current standard, which is supported by state corrections officials and the Obama administration, allows close searches for anyone entering the general jail population. Florence's Attorney argued that prisoners with minor charges can be asked to disrobe and shower while being watched at a distance, but they should not have to submit to a more thorough search absent suspicion that they are hiding something. Mark Sherman reports for AP.  

1983 Cold Case Heats Up With DNA Evidence:  Oklahoma District Attorney Mike Fields has filed first-degree murder charges against known felon, Lester Blackbear in connection to a 1983 cold case that the former DA dismissed for being too weak. A DNA match has implicated Blackbear in the rape and beating death of Ola Kirk in her Geary home. Coincidentally, the felon was arrested by U.S. Marshalls in Pheonix, Arizona, after he failed to register as a sex offender when he moved.  He was scheduled to be released Wednesday.  He will now remain in jail for his trial. Fields hasn't decided if he will purse life imprisonment or a death sentence. Adrianna Iwasinski reports in Oklahoma Own.

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