Texas Attorney General Rules in Favor of Government Secrecy Surrounding Lethal Injection Process

Today the Office of Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott issued an order that defends secrecy at the expense of open government – reversing the position his office took in multiple prior opinions over the last six years.  In so doing, Abbott’s office ruled in favor of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, finding that they do not have to disclose information about the pharmacy or pharmacist supplying the lethal injection drugs used in executions.

The Attorney General’s Ruling also finds that TDCJ may keep secret their “DEA Registration”–a form that is required to purchase the lethal injection drugs. The DEA registration TDCJ has used to date lists them as the “Huntsville Unit Hospital” – a hospital that no longer exists.  That false information has provided TDCJ with a medical persona that has been used previously to mislead pharmacies about the reason for the purchase of lethal drugs.

The following is a statement from attorney Maurie Levin, whose public information request was denied by the Attorney General today:

“It is deeply disturbing and frankly quite shocking that the highest law enforcement official in the state has suddenly reversed his position on disclosure when it comes to lethal injection, particularly considering the horrifically botched execution in Oklahoma last month that was the direct result of secrecy surrounding the process.

‘Serious questions surround this about-face, including why our Attorney General, who once championed transparency, is suddenly now supporting secretive government practices.”

–       Maurie Levin, Attorney | May 29, 2014

The Texas Attorney General’s decision in response to the public information request can be accessed here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BxR5nee8pBYQZDUxQ2twZlpKNFU/edit?usp=sharing

Ms. Levin’s brief arguing for the need for transparency can be accessed here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BxR5nee8pBYQbHhrUFBlRDhaWmc/edit?usp=sharing

For more information, Maurie Levin can be reached at: maurielevin@gmail.com and 512-294-1540.