Missouri Officials Prevented by Judge from Using Controversial Drug for Execution

Saturday, February 15, 2014
(photo: Della Bella, AP)

A federal judge has blocked Missouri’s attempt to use a different form of drug to execute a criminal on death row.


With traditional sources of lethal injection drugs drying up in the U.S., Missouri turned to a compounding pharmacy to produce the necessary supply for the execution of Michael Taylor, scheduled for February 26.


Taylor was convicted of murdering a 15-year-old girl and sentenced to death.


But Taylor’s defense team filed a motion to prevent the state from using a compounded pentobarbital for the scheduled lethal injection. They argued that their client risked suffering “severe, unnecessary, lingering and ultimately inhumane pain” if the drug was used.


U.S. District Court Judge Terence Kern sided with Taylor’s defense and granted a temporary restraining order preventing The Apothecary Shoppe from supplying the drug to the Missouri penal system, since the compounding pharmacy is not a registered drug manufacturer as recognized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.


“This is not an acceptable method for carrying out executions—to use an unlawful and dangerous drug—so we are hoping to stop that from happening,” Matthew Hellman, one of Taylor’s defense attorneys, told Reuters.

-Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

U.S. Judge Blocks Sale of Controversial Execution Drug to Missouri (by Eric M. Johnson, Reuters)

Execution by Lethal Injection Put on Hold (by David Lee, Courthouse News Service)

Lawmakers Urge Return of Firing Squads Due to Lack of Execution Drugs (by Noel Brinkerhoff and Danny Biederman, AllGov)

Executions Delayed Because of Drug Shortage (by Noel Brinkerhoff and David Wallechinsky, AllGov)


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