Nebraska will not surrender its supply of a controversial execution drug to the Food and Drug Administration because it believes the court order requiring it to do so is flawed, the state Attorney General's office indicated in a letter to the federal agency Friday.
James Smith, an assistant attorney general, suggested in the letter to the FDA that the agency should appeal U.S. District Judge Richard Leon's ruling on the drug, sodium thiopental. Leon ruled last month that the FDA was wrong to allow the drug into the country and he ordered the agency to immediately notify state correctional departments with foreign-manufactured stores of the drug, including Nebraska's, that its use is prohibited by law and that it must be surrendered.
"Other than the court's erroneous order, we are unaware of any evidence or reasons why the Department of Correctional Services should be required to return any thiopental in its possession," wrote Smith wrote, who also asked for contact information for the FDA's attorney and Justice Department officials who might be involved in deciding whether to appeal the ruling.
Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning issued a statement Friday saying that Nebraska's supply of sodium thiopental was purchased from a different supplier than the one cited in the case over which Leon presided, and that Nebraska's drug "was approved for importation by the U.S. DEA, FDA and Customs."
Another Great Plains AG With Backbone
Following their neighbor to the north [see this post], Nebraska has refused to turn over its thiopental (the drug used for lethal injections) to the FDA. Margery Beck reports for AP: