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Nitrogen Bill Passes OK House 85-10

Justice in the very worst murder cases has been frustrated in some states by an international conspiracy to cut off the supply of the drugs needed for execution by lethal injection.  The drug of choice is pentobarbital, the one used by veterinarians every day to euthanize animals.  The principal manufacturer, Akorn, is obligated by its purchase agreement from former manufacturer Lundbeck, a Danish company, to restrict distribution to companies that agree not to sell it to corrections departments.

Some states are looking to alternative sources of pentobarbital, and Texas has been successful so far in getting pentobarbital from compounding pharmacies, although we don't know how much longer that will last.  Attempts to substitute midazolam (Versed) have been problematic in some states.  The Supreme Court's review of the procedure used in Oklahoma and Florida has resulted in stays in those states.

Other states have looked to getting rid of lethal injection altogether.  For the record, I have been against it from the beginning.  Punishment should not be medicalized.  Some legislatures have passed or considered laws to bring back the electric chair or firing squad.  Bad idea.  Such executions are unlikely to happen, and if they do they will play into the hands of the opponents in the PR war.  Why do you think Deborah Denno is cheering you on, folks?  Think about it.

Oklahoma is on the verge of taking a smarter approach, authorizing nitrogen hypoxia as an alternative.  As I have mentioned on this blog before, I have personally experienced hypoxia in Air Force flight training.  It doesn't hurt a bit.  You just go to sleep.

Randy Krehbiel reports for the Tulsa World that HB 1879 passed the House by a vote of 85-10 yesterday.  The bill goes to the Senate, where parallel SB 794 was approved by the Judiciary Committee last month.

The bill would take effect November 1 if enacted.  Would Glossip v. Gross be moot?  Doubtful.  That case will be argued in April 29 and decided by June.

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