KARK reports that the state Correction Department has temporarily stopped searching for midazolam, one of the drugs used in executions. That likely means no further executions until the law can be changed in 2019 to provide more secrecy in the drug acquisition process.
The legislature meets in 2019.
ADC Director Wendy Kelly said Tuesday the decision was made after Arkansas’ highest court ruled earlier this year that the department would have to reveal who the drug’s manufacturer is.
ADC Spokesperson Solomon Graves said Tuesday the department is in discussion with the governor and attorney general’s offices on changing the wording of the Arkansas Method of Execution Act, which would protect the identity of the drug’s manufacturer.
Once it’s approved by the Governor, Graves says ADC will begin Legislative outreach.
Graves says if the wording is changed to protect the identity of the manufacturer, ADC would resume its search for the drug.
Midazolam is a sedative and it has been controversial as to effectiveness in preventing suffering by those being executed. The drugmakers say it must not be used for executions and so states like Arkansas have turned to clandestine and sometimes dubious sources to obtain the drug. Its apparently dishonest acquisition of a recent supply led to a lawsuit by a drug distributor to reclaim its drugs so they wouldn’t be used for an unintended purpose. Judge Wendell Griffen ruled in favor the distributor, setting of a
So when the state says it wants to change the law so that there are no means to trace the source of drugs, it means it wants protection for its dishonest means of killing people.
No inmates currently have execution dates set. The state already lacked an unexpired supply of vecuronium bromide, another of the three execution drugs. The potassium chloride expires Aug. 31 and the midazolam supply was to last through January, according to an earlier USA Today article.