Friday, November 5, 2010

Who's Got the Drugs?

OK, so now what will we do? Will the republic survive?
It's hardly an immediate crisis what with having until February 17 to find a solution.  But still.
The problem is that shortage of thiopental sodium.  We've got enough left here in Ohio (whew, that was close) to kill Sidney Cornwell in eleven days.  And then we have the Christmas vacation in December and January, but Cornwell comes up in February, and as Alan Johnson lays it out in the Columbus Dispatch, we just don't have enough on hand to kill Frank Spisak in February or Johnny Baston in March.*
Arizona, of course, found a secret source so they could kill Jeffrey Landrigan.  The secret source, it turns out, is Britain where the sole manufacturer of the drug, Archimedes Pharma UK denies actually providing it.  But what they don't give directly, well, once they provide the drug to medical suppliers, it's out of their hands.
"The company supplies the product in the UK, in accordance with regulations, through the recognised pharmaceutical supply chain, primarily to wholesalers and hospital pharmacies," it said.

Archimedes said that once the drug entered the complex chain of medical supplies it would not have known where it was eventually sold. "Consistent with applicable regulations, the company does not have information on specific end purchasers or users of its products. The company neither exports the product to the US for any purpose, nor is it aware of any exports of the product," it said.

Carefully explained, since as Clive Stafford Smith points out, Archimides might just be criminally liable for Landrigan's murder.
One question that immediately springs to mind is whether it is criminal for the British corporation to profit from such a killing: while the language is loose, EU Council Regulation 1236/2005 takes a step along this path, making it illegal to "trade in certain goods which could be used for capital punishment, torture, or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment ..."
In fact, it seems that Tennessee has contracted to buy a quantity of thiopental from a source in Britain for use in the planned murder of Edward Zagorski on January 11.  Though there's a potential snag.  Reprieve, a British organization founded and directed by Stafford Smith and which "assists prisoners facing the death penalty, and prisoners held beyond the rule of law in the ‘war on terror,’" is suing the British government to prevent the export.
Which brings us back to Ohio and what to do about killing Spisak and Baston and the unnamed others we'll try to murder in 2011.  According to Johnson, the folks at DRC who plan the killings aren't talking.
Prisons spokeswoman Julie Walburn declined to say whether the state has considered or will consider buying from Great Britain or other foreign sources.
I've pointed out before that there's a simple solution.
Just stop the killing.
Of course, then the republic might not survive.

*I'll probably carry on high about Baston as we get closer.  I represented him, unsuccessfully, on appeal, and I remain outraged that he didn't get a new trial or at least a new sentencing hearing.

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