July 12, 2016 – The News Service of Florida
by Dara Kam
Lawyers representing seven Arizona Death Row inmates want information about the drugs used in Florida’s lethal-injection procedure, but corrections officials are asking a judge to keep the documents secret.
The Arizona lawyers last month filed a subpoena seeking years of records related to Florida’s triple-drug lethal injection protocol, including the types of drugs purchased, the strengths and amounts of the drugs, the expiration dates of the drugs and the names of suppliers. The lawyers are seeking similar information from other states.
The subpoena, filed in federal court in Arizona, is part of a drawn-out challenge to that state’s lethal-injection process. Arizona’s death penalty has been on hold for two years following the botched execution of inmate Joseph Wood in 2014, who died nearly two hours after the lethal-injection procedure was started.
On Monday, the Florida Department of Corrections asked a federal judge in Tallahassee to quash the subpoena, saying that state information regarding death penalty drugs is exempt from public disclosure.
The state agency “is unclear how Florida’s lethal injection drugs have anything to do with this case out of Arizona, in which plaintiffs are, in part, challenging Arizona’s use of midazolam for its lethal injections. FDC does not have any involvement in Arizona’s lethal injection procedures or Arizona’s procurement of drugs for its lethal injections,” Florida Chief Assistant Attorney General James Lee Marsh wrote in the 15-page motion.
Midazolam, one of the drugs used in Wood’s execution, is the first of the three-drug lethal cocktail used in Florida.
Florida corrections officials and the state “have very strong public policy interests in preventing its confidential execution information from being publicly disclosed,” Marsh wrote.
“The United States Supreme Court has recognized that there is a guerilla war currently occurring against the death penalty in the United States. [READ MORE]