Archive | Texas

30 December 2013 ~ Comments Off

TCADP Photo Reflection of 2013

Dear Friends,

Earlier this month, TCADP released its annual report, Texas Death Penalty Developments in 2013: The Year in Review. The report notes that Texas – along with the rest of the nation – is steadily moving away from the death penalty. While Texas remains the nation’s leading executioner, death sentences remain near record-low levels. Use of the death penalty continues to be geographically isolated and arbitrarily imposed…. Dallas County alone accounts for 20% of new death sentences in recent years.  Learn more of the report’s findings.

Thanks to your steadfast support and participation, we are dismantling the death penalty county-by-county.  TCADP cannot continue this work without you!

View this slideshow of highlights from some of our events over the past year.

 

2014 will bring exciting opportunities for TCADP to engage new partners in our strategic efforts to end the death penalty. Please support our organization by making a special end-of-year, tax-deductible donation so that we can continue these vital education and outreach programs.

Thank you for your continued support and generosity. Together, we will light the way to abolition of the death penalty in Texas.

With gratitude,

Kristin Houlé
Executive Director, Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty

p.s. We truly appreciate the gifts that so many of you have made this month. If you haven’t given already, save a stamp by making a secure online donation today!   Thank you!

Don’t Forget:  Register today for the TCADP 2014 Annual Conference, which will take place for the first time in Fort Worth!! Take advantage of our early bird registration rates of $45 for TCADP members, $55 for non-members, and $20 for students. Rates will increase after January 1st, so don’t delay! Learn more about the conference, including details on our 2014 panelists, award winners, and keynote speaker. See you in Cowtown!

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17 December 2013 ~ Comments Off

TCADP Releases 2013 Year-End Report on Texas Death Penalty Developments

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, December 17, 2013

CONTACT: Kristin Houlé, Executive Director
512-441-1808 (office); 512-552-5948 (cell)
khoule@tcadp.org

Infographics are available at http://tcadp.org/2013tcadpinfographics/.

One Third of All New Texas Death Sentences in 2013 Came from Dallas County,
According to New Report by TCADP

Seven of nine new death row inmates are African-American men and 11 of the state’s 16 executions this year were of people of color

(Austin, Texas) — One third of all new death sentences in Texas were imposed in just one county this year, according to the Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty’s (TCADP) new report, Texas Death Penalty Developments in 2013: The Year in Review.  The report documents Dallas County’s emergence as the state’s most active death penalty jurisdiction, accounting for 20% of new death sentences since 2008.

Over the last six years, Dallas County has imposed nearly twice as many new death sentences as Harris County, which alone has sent nearly 300 people to death row since 1976.

infographic3

Click the image to enlarge. See multiple infographics to share at www.tcadp.org/2013tcadpinfographics/

Juries condemned nine new individuals to death in Texas this year, the same number of death sentences imposed in 2012.  New death sentences in Texas have declined more than 75% over the last decade and numbered in the single digits for the last five years.

A total of seven counties in Texas accounted for the new death row inmates in 2013.  Notably, three of the highest sentencing jurisdictions in recent years did not impose any death sentences this year, and no inmates were re-sentenced to death in the state.

Both geography and race continue to disproportionately impact death sentences in Texas: seven of the nine new death row inmates in 2013 are African-American men.  Over the last six years, half of all new death sentences in Texas have been imposed on African-Americans. In Dallas County, this pattern is even more pronounced – of the 11 men sentenced to death there since 2008, 8 are African-American and 2 are Hispanic.  All three of Dallas County’s new death sentences in 2013 were imposed on African-American men.

“While most of Texas is moving away from the death penalty, Dallas County has emerged as a major outlier in its pursuit of the ultimate punishment, particularly for defendants of color,” said Kristin Houlé, Executive Director of the Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty.  “These troubling patterns directly counter Dallas’s reputation as a leader in criminal justice reform.”

Halfway through the year, the State of Texas carried out its 500th execution since 1982, putting Kimberly McCarthy to death for the 1997 murder of Dorothy Booth in Dallas County. McCarthy, who was African-American, was the fourth woman executed by the state and the first since 2005.

Her attorney argued that the jury selection process in her second trial was tainted by racial discrimination: of the twelve jurors seated at trial, all were white, except one, and eligible non-white jurors were excluded from serving by the State. While two earlier execution dates this year were postponed, the courts refused to intervene a third time.

The State of Texas carried out 16 executions in 2013, a slight increase from 2012, when 15 executions took place. Executions are now being carried out through the use of a compounded form of the drug pentobarbital, and the Texas Department of Criminal Justice has been criticized for a lack of transparency when it comes to the state’s lethal injection protocol.

Of the 16 people executed in Texas this year, eight were African-American, five were white, and three were Hispanic.

“Although Texas is using the death penalty less, the state still uses it disproportionately against people of color,” said Kathryn Kase, Executive Director of the Texas Defender Service.  “Texas’s failure to effectively address this recurring problem demonstrates, yet again, the deep flaws in the state’s capital punishment system.”

Other highlights of Texas Death Penalty Developments in 2013: The Year in Review:

  • Texas accounted for approximately 42% of all U.S. executions this year and twice as many as any other state. 269 executions have occurred during the administration of Texas Governor Rick Perry (2001 – present), more than any other governor in U.S. history.  Texas has executed a total of 508 people since 1982.
  • Seven inmates scheduled for execution in 2013 received reprieves, including stays granted by the courts and the withdrawal of execution dates.  Four other inmates were granted modifications of their dates but were ultimately executed this year.
  • For the first time in six years, no one was re-sentenced to death in Texas.  Several long-standing cases in which the courts had ordered new punishment hearings were resolved with sentences other than death.  A total of four inmates received reduced sentences in 2013, including two from Harris County. Collectively, these four individuals spent approximately 80 years on death row.
  • Death-qualified juries rejected the death penalty in the sentencing phase in two trials this year and instead opted for life in prison without the possibility of parole.  In both cases, juries determined that mitigating evidence warranted a sentence other than death.  Over the last five years, death-qualified juries have rejected the death penalty in more than 20 capital murder trials.

“Attitudes toward the death penalty are shifting as public confidence in the criminal justice system erodes,” said Houlé.  “At this critical moment in our state’s experience with the death penalty, TCADP urges concerned citizens and elected officials to confront the realities of this irreversible and costly punishment and seek alternative ways of achieving justice.”

TCADP is a statewide, grassroots advocacy organization based in Austin.

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Texas Death Penalty Developments in 2013: The Year in Review is available online at www.tcadp.org/TexasDeathPenaltyDevelopments2013.pdf.

TCADPInfographic2013

Click the image to enlarge. See multiple infographics to share at www.tcadp.org/2013tcadpinfographics/

Contact report author Kristin Houlé at khoule@tcadp.org to receive a copy directly via email.  See the report for additional tables illustrating the race of defendants sentenced to death in the last six years and other recent trends.

Infographics are available at http://tcadp.org/2013tcadpinfographics/.

See http://tcadp.org/2008-2013-new-death-sentences/ for a map of new death sentences by county from 2008 to 2013.

See http://tcadp.org/1976-2013-county-map/ for a map of death sentences by county from 1976 to 2013.

The following individuals are available for further comment on the topics raised by these year-end statistics:

  • Kristin Houlé, Executive Director, TCADP: 512-441-1808 (office) or 512-552-5948 (cell)
  • Kathryn M. Kase, Executive Director, Texas Defender Service: 713-222-7788 (office)

Join TCADP and guest moderator Jordan Smith of the Austin Chronicle today, Tuesday, December 17, 2013 at 3:00 PM CST for a Twitter chat to discuss #Texas #deathpenalty trends and ask questions about this report.  Follow #2013TXDP for the chat and to ask questions.  @TCADPdotORG @chronic_jordan

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07 December 2013 ~ Comments Off

On this day in 1982…

Thirty-one years ago today, the State of Texas officially resumed executions, putting Charlie Brooks to death for the 1976 murder of David Gregory. That was also the nation’s first execution by lethal injection, a new method concocted by a legislator and former chief medical examiner in Oklahoma.

Rev Carroll Pickett at Joe Byrd Cemetery at the Walls Unit in Huntsville, Texas

Reverend Carroll Pickett, who served as the chaplain at the Walls Unit in Huntsville, spent all day with Charlie Brooks and stood at the foot of the gurney as he was executed. In his memoir, Within These Walls: Memoirs of a Death House Chaplain, he writes about the immediate aftermath of the execution: “All that remained was an air of stunned silence – testimony to the fact that none of those who had witnessed penal history being made had really been prepared for what they had seen.”
Earlier this year, Keith Brooks, the son of Charlie Brooks, Jr., spoke eloquently during the Texas House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee’s hearing on House Bill 1703, which called for repeal of the death penalty.  He told legislators, “I was very affected by the execution of my father… It is time to be Texas bold and stop the death penalty.  Senseless killing begets senseless killing….  We are more mature now. We are modern now. Why would we consider an archaic system?”
Since 1982, the State of Texas has executed 508 people; 269 of these executions have occurred during the administration of Governor Rick Perry, more than any other governor in U.S. history. This year, the State of Texas carried out 16 executions, a slight increase over last year and twice as many as any other state in the country.
Yet Texas – along with the rest of the nation – is moving away from the death penalty.  New death sentences remain at record-low levels, and death-qualified juries have rejected this punishment in more than 20 trials in the past six years.
Use of the death penalty has been relegated to a few jurisdictions statewide; in fact, just five counties account for 54% of new death sentences in the last six years. These trends and other developments in 2013 will appear in TCADP’s year-end report, which will be released later this month.
With your participation, TCADP is educating Texans about the fatal flaws of our state’s death penalty system and equipping our members to serve as powerful citizen advocates for abolition.
We are grateful for the contributions that so many of you have made already this year and ask for your additional support so that TCADP can continue to light the way to abolition.
Please join us in these efforts by making a special year-end, tax-deductible donation and hastening the day that we mark the anniversary of the abolition of the death penalty in Texas.
Thank you for your generosity,
Kristin Houlé
TCADP Executive Director
p.s. Consider donating in memory or in honor of a friend or loved one. Go to www.tcadp.org/donate today to make a secure gift to TCADP.btn_donate

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04 December 2013 ~ Comments Off

December 2013 Texas Death Penalty Alert: Announcing TCADP’s Annual Award Winners

In This Edition: 
Scheduled Executions
Announcements
Take Action
In the News
Upcoming Events
In Memoriam
Calendar

Executions
The State of Texas carried out its final execution of the year, December 3. Jerry Martin was put to death for the 2007 murder of Texas Department of Criminal Justice prison guard Susan Canfield during a prison escape from the Wynne Unit in Huntsville. He was convicted in Walker County. Earlier this year, Martin waived his right to further appeal his case. Read more in the Austin Chronicle.

Six executions already have been scheduled for 2014.

TCADP encourages all members to attend a vigil in your community on the evening of executions. Information and updates on these cases will be available on our website and through Facebook and Twitter. 

Announcements
TCADP Announces 2014 Award Winners
The TCADP Board of Directors is delighted to announce the recipients of the 2014 Annual Awards, which will be presented at our 2014 Annual Conference: “Lighting the Way” on February 22, 2014 in Fort Worth, Texas.

Appreciation Award: Ariana Campos, who has provided critical logistical support for TCADP’s activities in the State Capitol since 2009.

Appreciation Award: Maria Castillo, one of TCADP’s stalwart volunteers in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex, for her incredible outreach efforts.

Appreciation Award: Paula Keeth, a steadfast advocate for abolition and devoted member of the TCADP Dallas Chapter, for her commitment to the issue and inspiration of others.

Appreciation Award: Burnham Terrell, for his faithful work coordinating the Houston-area execution vigils for many years.  The award will be presented post-humously.  Learn more about Burnham below.

Courage Award: State Representative Terry Canales, in recognition of his public statement in support of ending the death penalty during the House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee’s hearing on House Bill 1703 by Rep. Jessica Farrar on April 29, 2013

David P. Atwood Founder’s Award: State Representative Lon Burnam, in recognition of his lifelong commitment to justice and his contributions to abolition and to TCADP, both within and outside of the Texas Legislature

Read more about these winners.

Please join us in celebrating these extraordinary individuals at the 2014 Annual Conference!  We invite you to congratulate the award winners by placing an ad in the conference program and/or sponsoring a table at the awards luncheon.  We also invite individuals and organizations to share your work with participants by exhibiting at the conference. Download Form for Ads, Sponsors, and Exhibitors.

In addition to the annual awards luncheon – which will include a keynote address by Bob Ray Sanders, a longtime columnist with the Fort Worth Star-Telegram – the conference will feature a plenary session on the role that Texas plays in the national movement and ways that TCADP and our key partners are lighting the way toward ending the death penalty as a practice.  Register today! Rates will increase after January 1st!

Coming Soon: Year-End Report: Texas Death Penalty Developments in 2013
What county accounts for the most death sentences over the last six years? Who was removed from death row in 2013? All of your burning questions will be addressed in TCADP’s forthcoming annual report, Texas Death Penalty Developments in 2013: The Year in Review. More details will be sent to you later this month. Previous reports are available online.

Giving Tuesday!
We are grateful for the contributions that so many of you have made already this year and those that provided additional support  on Giving Tuesday so that TCADP can continue to light the way toward abolition. Save a stamp by making an end-of-the-year, tax-deductible donation today! Thank you for your support and generosity.

Take Action: Demand a New Sentencing Hearing for Duane Buck
On November 20, 2013, a divided Texas Court of Criminal Appeals denied Duane Buck’s appeal for a new, fair sentencing hearing free from racial bias. With this decision, Texas has once again reneged on the clear and unequivocal promise made by former Texas Attorney General John Cornyn that Mr. Buck would not face execution based on a racially biased death sentence. Despite this promise, Mr. Buck is now at grave risk of execution in Texas. Join more than 91,000 supporters who have signed a petition on Change.org calling for a new sentencing hearing for Duane Buck! Follow TCADP on Facebook and Twitter for breaking news and to learn about other opportunities for your involvement in this case.

In the News:  Conservatives vs. the Death Penalty
TCADP Board Member Pat Monks is featured prominently in a new editorial by the Dallas Morning News, “Conservatives vs. the death penalty” (November 29, 2013). The editorial remarks on the emergence of a new national network, Conservatives Concerned about the Death Penalty, and notes, “the driving principles are capital punishment’s incompatibility with the conservative ideals of restraining government, protecting life and maintaining fiscal responsibility.” Read the full editorial.

Upcoming Events
Austin:  Sister Helen Prejean to speak -December 3
Marking the 20th anniversary of the publication of her most famous work, Dead Man Walking, Sister Helen Prejean will speak at Friends Meeting of Austin (Quakers) Meetinghouse, Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2013 at 7 pm.  The Quaker Meetinghouse is at 3701 E. MLK Blvd, Austin.

CANCELLED DUE TO WEATHER -Fort Worth: Storytelling Circle with Families of the Executed – December 7
The Texas After Violence Project will host a special event Listening to Families of Executed Texans – a Storytelling Circle in Fort Worth from 4:00 to 7:00pm at the Tarrant County College, Trinity Campus, Trinity Building – Room Connect: TRTR 4102 on the 4th floor. Come explore the living pasts of the death penalty with families of executed Texans from the Fort Worth area and consider how memory may serve as a resource for restoring and reimagining community and building a more just and less violent Texas.
Featuring:

  • Derrek and Keith Brooks, sons of Charlie Brooks, Jr. executed on December 7, 1982
  • Stanley Allridge, brother of Ronald and James Allridge executed on June 8, 1995 and August 26, 2004 respectively
  • Opening remarks by Bob Ray Sanders, columnist at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram
  • Circle keeper – Estrus Tucker, TCADP Board Vice-President
  • Select clips from the Texas After Violence Project oral history archive

Hosted by the Texas After Violence Project with support from the Craig and Kathryn Hall Foundation.  Co-sponsored by the Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, Texas Observer, Amnesty International, and Murder Victims’ Families for Human Rights.

In Memoriam
Burnham Terrell, an active TCADP and Houston Chapter member, reached his 90th birthday on November 12 and the 21st anniversary of his marriage to his wife, Joan on November 13.   He is an inspiration to any of us who might think we are too old to be an activist. Burnham passed away the morning of November 13 while recovering from a stroke that happened earlier in the month. The memorial service for Burnham Terrell will be Saturday, December 14 at 11 am at the Live Oak Friends Meeting House, 1318 W. 26th St., Houston, TX.  Burnham’s faithful work coordinating the Houston area execution vigils for so many years will be sorely missed.

Calendar
December<
3 Scheduled execution of Jerry Martin; Sister Helen in Austin (see above for details); Giving Tuesday
5 TCADP Executive Director Kristin Houle and TCADP Board Member Pat Monks addressing Liberty on the Rocks Houston, 7:30 PM; TCADP Table at Dallas Peace Center Annual Peacemakers Dinner
7 31st Anniversary of the Resumption of Executions in Texas; Fort Worth Storytelling circle (CANCELLED DUE TO WEATHER); Dallas Annual Christmas Card Signing for Death Row inmates, 11:00 to 4:00 in the History Department Conference Room, basement of Dallas Hall at SMU
10 International Human Rights Day
31 Last day to support TCADP with your year-end tax-deductible donation!

January
1 Last Day to Secure TCADP Annual Conference Early Bird Registration Rates (rates will increase after this date)       
8 TCADP in Collin County meeting, 7 PM; Sun Creek United Methodist Church collincounty@tcadp.org
20 El Paso Chapter meeting, 7 PM elpaso@tcadp.org
22 Dallas Chapter meeting, 7 PM dallas@tcadp.org

February
1 Last Day to Receive TCADP Annual Conference Advance Registration Rates; Last Day to Book Block Rate Hotel rooms for TCADP Annual Conference

Support all of the programs and initiatives described here with a generous donation to TCADP today!

 

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04 December 2013 ~ Comments Off

State of Texas Executes Jerry Martin; Final Texas Execution of 2013

Last night, December 3, 2013, the State of Texas carried out its last execution of the year, putting Jerry Martin to death for the 2007 murder of Texas Department of Criminal Justice prison guard Susan Canfield during a prison escape from the Wynne Unit in Huntsville.  Earlier this year, Martin waived his right to further appeal his case.   Nationwide, there are at least 142 inmates who decided to give up their appeals and proceed with their executions, according to the Death Penalty Information Center.

According to the Associated Press via Tyler Morning Telegraph (thanks to StandDown Texas for the link):

From the death chamber gurney, Martin told relatives of the slain corrections officer that he was sorry. “I wish I could take it back, but I can’t,” he said.

“I hope this gives you closure. I did not murder your loved one. It was an accident. I didn’t mean for it to happen, but it happened. I take full responsibility.”

Fellow escapee and co-defendant John Falk Jr. is awaiting a retrial after a judge declared a mistrial in Falk’s capital murder case late last year.

The State of Texas carried out 16 executions this year, nearly half of all executions to date statewide.   At least three executions are scheduled to take place in other states later this month.

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18 November 2013 ~ Comments Off

New Dallas County Death Sentence – Third for Dallas

A Dallas County jury has convicted and sentenced Franklin Davis for the murder of 16 year old, Shania Gray.  Gray was the babysitter of Davis’ children and had accused him of rape.

Read more about the case from the Dallas Morning News.

This is the third death sentence in Dallas County this year, but the eleventh for Dallas County since 2008.  It is the eighth new death sentence statewide in 2013.

Dallas County leads the state in the imposition of new death sentences over the last five years.  Of the eleven men sentenced to death in Dallas County in this time period, eight are African American and two are Hispanic.

Read more about recent sentencing trends by county and view TCADP’s maps of death sentences and executions by county between 1976 and 2012 and 2008 and 2012.

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13 November 2013 ~ Comments Off

State of Texas executes Jamie McCoskey

Last night, September 26, 2013, the State of Texas executed Jamie McCoskey for the abduction and murder of Michael Dwyer, 21.  Some reports of the case include an accusation of rape of Michael Dwyer’s fiance who was also kidnapped at the time; however Harris County dropped the rape charge.

McCoskey’s mother testified at his trial that he had an abusive childhood that led to behavioral problems. After stints in juvenile facilities, his offenses escalated as he reached adulthood.

Texas Department of Criminal Justice officials have used pentobarbital as the single execution drug for more than a year now.

Read more about the case from ABC News/the Associated Press.

This was the 15th execution in Texas to date this year, out of 34 nationwide. McCoskey was sentenced in Harris County, their second execution for 2013.

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07 October 2013 ~ Comments Off

Pharmacy Asks Texas to Return Drugs Intended for Use in Execution

Last month, officials with the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) announced that although their current supply of pentobarbital had expired, they had no plans to change the lethal injection protocol. At the time, officials did not disclose the source of the drugs they now are using in executions in Texas.

It now has come to light that TDCJ obtained pentobarbital from a local compounding pharmacy, which has demanded its return.  Please see below for a press release issued today by the attorneys for three inmates who are suing for more information and who seek to halt the October 9 scheduled execution of Michael Yowell in order to permit time for review of Texas’ last-minute change to the use of compounded drugs.

PRESS RELEASE

For Immediate Release: Monday, October 7, 2013

Contact: Maurie Levin, maurielevin@gmail.com

512-294-1540

Bobbie Stratton or Brad Chambers of Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell

bstratton@bakerdonelson.com

bchambers@bakerdonelson.com

713-650-9700

Pharmacy Asks Texas to Return Drugs Intended for Use in Wednesday Execution

Civil Rights Plaintiffs Appealing Judge’s Order; Assert that TDCJ’s Promise that the purchase of execution drugs would be kept on the “down low” is additional evidence of TDCJ’s continued effort to carry out executions without transparency or accountability

(Austin, TX, Monday, October 7, 2013) A Texas compounding pharmacy that recently sold compounded pentobarbital to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) for use in executions is demanding that the state return the drugs scheduled to be used in an execution on Wednesday. An appeal with the Fifth Circuit will be filed this week asking the court to stay Michael Yowell’s execution to permit time for review of Texas’ last-minute change to the use of compounded drugs. This weekend, a letter from Woodlands Compounding Pharmacy to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice came to light in lethal injection in federal court in Arizona.  The letter states in part:

“Based on the phone calls I had with Erica Minor of TDCJ regarding its request for these drugs, including statements that she made to me, it was my belief that this information would be kept on the ‘down low’ and that it was unlikely that it would be discovered that my pharmacy provided these drugs.  Based on Ms. Minor’s requests, I took steps to ensure it would be private.  However, the State of Texas misrepresented this fact because my name and the name of my pharmacy are posted all over the internet.”

The letter concludes: “I must demand that TDCJ immediately return the vials of compounded pentobarbital in exchange for a refund.”

The letter was sent in the midst of a civil rights lawsuit filed by Texas prisoners seeking information about the drugs TDCJ intends to use to carry out executions. The letter was only discovered when it was filed in a lethal injection action in Arizona District Court sometime on Friday.  The attorneys for the inmates and for TDCJ were in Court Friday afternoon on a hearing on a request for a stay of Mr. Yowell’s scheduled execution in light of Texas’ efforts to keep information about how it intends to proceed with executions secret, and the risks inherent to compounded drugs – risks that have recently been the subject of Congressional hearings in the wake of the fungal meningitis outbreak.

Public records requests show that TDCJ has stockpiled a variety of drugs, none of which ever has been used in an execution. It was not until last Thursday that media discovered TDCJ plans to carry out upcoming executions using compounded pentobarbital purchased from Woodlands Compounding Pharmacy, located in Houston.

Maurie Levin, one of the plaintiffs’s attorneys, said, “The letter from Woodlands Pharmacy is further evidence of TDCJ’s lack of good faith, reflected both in the way they’ve gone about  attempts to purchase lethal injection drugs, and in their misleading responses to requests for information about how they intend to carry out executions.  Both have thwarted true access to the courts.”

Bobbie Stratton, one of the attorneys for the Plaintiffs at the Houston office of Baker Donelson said, “At the heart of this lawsuit is the basic premise that governmental agencies owe us, the public, a duty of transparency, deliberation, and accountability – especially when they are carrying out the ultimate act – the taking of a human life.”

Background

The lawsuit at issue was filed last week by three death-sentenced prisoners in Texas.  It is a civil rights lawsuit against the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ), asserting that TDCJ has failed to disclose, in a timely and meaningful fashion, the drugs they will use to carry out executions and that this failure violates death row inmates’ constitutional rights.  The suit also alleges that known problems with compounded drugs amount to a substantial risk that inmates will suffer severe pain, or that that drug will be inadequate to accomplish an execution.

Documents revealed at the Friday hearing in federal district court Judge Hughes’ courtroom reflect that TDCJ (or Woodlands Pharmacy) asked Eagle Analytical Labs to test the compounded pentobarbital for purity.  Just three months ago an FDA inspection report listed numerous problems with the Lab, including problems with sterility, contamination, validation, test protocol, and staff training.  One note indicates that staff performing a certain test (bacterialendotoxin) were never training in the “principles and methodologies of the test.”

Eagle Analytical is a subsidiary of PCCA, or Professional Compounding Centers of America.  PCCA supplies ingredients to compounding pharmacies, including Woodlands.

Late Saturday afternoon, Judge Hughes denied Mr. Yowell’s request for a temporary restraining order, thus allowing the execution, scheduled for Wednesday, October 9, to proceed without meaningful review of the new drugs.  The Plaintiffs are appealing that order to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.

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