Texas Can Keep Drug Supplier Secret

Steven Pickering
April 12, 2019 - 4:55 pm
Marijuana Laws

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The Supreme Court of Texas has ruled that the Texas Department of Criminal Justice does not have to reveal where it gets the drugs it uses in lethal injections. 

The case dates back to 2014, when several lawyers representing clients on death row had requested the state reveal where it got the drugs used in executions. They argued that they needed to verify the quality of the drugs, and to ensure that death row inmates would not face unconstitutional pain and suffering during the execution process. 

Lawyers for the state argued the information should remain secret because revealing it could lead to physical harm to the business that provides the drugs. 

"The only piece of information that's left in this case is the one piece of information that law enforcement needs to provide any measure of safety to the pharmacy that is involved in this case," said Ari Cuenin with the Office of the Texas Attorney General during oral arguments before the Texas Supreme Court. "We're talking about a retail compounding pharmacy in an urban area of a Texas city. It is a 'soft target'. Its only defense is anonymity."

A majority of the Supreme Court of Texas agreed and ruled that the TDCJ could withhold the information. The request would have only applied to executions prior to 2015. That's when Governor Abbott signed a law officially making information about the drug supplier a secret.