Execution Secrecy Bill Advances
A bill that would keep confidential the manufacturers that distribute execution drugs passed a committee Tuesday and now heads to the full House.
Metairie Rep. Joe Lopinto's measure would prohibit the disclosure of what kinds of drugs are administered. Lake Charles defense attorney Walter Sanchez said he has a problem with that.
"The last two states who tried to manufacture their own drugs, Ohio and Oklahoma, are dealing with botched executions right now," said Sanchez. "But in Oklahoma, there is an ongoing investigation into what happened and what went wrong. If you pass this, you won't have (an investigation) in Louisiana when we botch one here."
The last two states who tried to manufacture their own drugs, Ohio and Oklahoma, are dealing with botched executions right now.
The legislation stems back to the problem the Department of Corrections is having getting drugs used in lethal injections.
Lopinto says it's the job of the DOC to carry out the order of the judge and jury that sentenced someone to die.
"We're not debating in the courtroom," said Lopinto. "We're debating what drug we're going to use to put this guy to death as it was ordered to do so."
The Louisiana Association of Criminal Defense lawyers also opposed Lopinto's bill saying it would remove any corrective action that would need to be taken against anyone responsible for a botched execution.
But Lopinto said after a death warrant is signed, the lawyer's job is to advocate for their death-row client until the end.
"So what happens now?" questioned Lopinto. "They've lost trial. They've lost the appeal. and now a death warrant is signed. So where do they go now? The next person — the manufacturer — to say, 'Let's see what we can do to muddy this up some more.'"
House Bill 328 would have originally allowed the electric chair to be used in executions but was amended.