lethal injection drugs

Lawmakers want to keep the identities of the companies supplying drugs for lethal injections in Alabama a secret.

That's what a bill that just passed the state House yesterday in a 76 to 26 vote will guarantee. That bill now moves to the Alabama Senate.

Alabama hasn't executed a death row inmate since 2013, partly because the state has had trouble obtaining lethal injection drugs. Pharmaceutical companies have historically shied away from associating their name with an execution drug.

Floridians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty

Attorneys for an Alabama death row inmate have filed a federal lawsuit arguing that the state's new lethal injection drug combination has never been tried on any prisoner in the United States and amounts to cruel and unusual punishment.

Attorneys for Christopher Lee Price filed the suit Wednesday night. It asks a federal judge to block the state from using the new, three-drug combination. The state prison system developed the combination after running out of one of the drugs in its old execution protocol.

Floridians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty

Attorneys for a condemned inmate say Alabama's new lethal injection drug combination needs review because it relies on a drug used in two recently botched executions.

Lawyers for Tommy Arthur on Friday asked the Alabama Supreme Court to deny the state's request for an execution date.

Suhana S. Han tells that inmates executed in Ohio and Arizona took from 25 minutes to two hours to die, and that suggests the first drug given, the anesthetic midazolam, is unreliable.

Han says the new combination needs court scrutiny before it is used in Alabama.

The Birmingham News file

Alabama has adopted a new combination of drugs for executions and is once again seeking to put inmates to death.

The attorney general's office is asking the Alabama Supreme Court to set execution dates for nine death row inmates. Lawyers said the Department of Corrections this week adopted a new three-drug protocol for executions.

Executions in Alabama had come to a halt after Alabama and other states ran out of a key drug used in executions.

Alabama State House
Trance Mist / Flickr

Alabama lawmakers are getting close to approving a bill that would keep secret the identities of manufacturers and suppliers of lethal injection drugs used in state executions.

The Senate Health Committee approved the legislation Wednesday in a 7-0 vote. It now moves to the Alabama Senate floor.

Rep. Lynn Greer, a Rogersville Republican, says states are struggling to get execution drugs because pharmacies and companies fear lawsuits and backlash from death penalty opponents.