Holder Asked to Appeal Ruling on Execution Drug

Tuesday, 22 May 2012 02:20 PM

By Greg McDonald

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Worried about their ability to carry out executions, 15 state attorneys general have asked U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to appeal a federal judge’s decision blocking the importation of a drug used in lethal injections, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reports.

The drug, sodium thiopental, is the first of three drugs administered to an inmate during a lethal injection death sentence. It’s designed to render patients unconscious.

But the drug is no longer manufactured in the United States, and U.S. District Judge Richard J. Leon in Washington, D.C., ruled in March that a foreign-made version cannot be imported until it’s approved for use by the Food and Drug Administration.

In his ruling, Leon also ordered the FDA to notify state correctional departments that are holding on to foreign-made sodium thiopental to return their supplies to the FDA.

According to the Times-Dispatch, the attorneys general sent a letter to Holder on Monday expressing their concerns that Leon’s ruling could impair the ability of states to carry out executions ordered by the courts.






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