Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Side with transparency in red-herring execution drug debate

The Texas Senate yesterday passed legislation to make vendor information about execution drugs secret and the House may follow suit soon, but Grits considers this a stupid, red herring of a debate all the way around.

First, there's no evidence whatsoever of credible threats against pharmacists who compounded execution drugs for the state. That's why a district judge ruled the Public Information Act applied: The premise justifying secrecy was phony from the get go.

OTOH, abolitionists want information about the drug vendors in order to pursue claims that lethal injection is cruel and unusual. But that's ultimately a dead-end argument: If lethal injection isn't constitutional, the firing squad still is.

Despite my disdain for the entire debate, in the end for me transparency trumps: The vendor information should be public because all vendor information should be public.

The court got it right. The senate got it wrong.

RELATED: See an editorial from the Austin Statesman.


Charles Kuffner said...

So they want to keep information about execution drugs secret, but publish the names of judges who grant bypass requests for minors to get abortions. Gotta love the consistency there.

Anonymous said...

The public should know who provides the execution drugs because quality is a real concern. Everyone knows that tainted drugs can cause permanent injury or even death. Oh wait.

There is no reason to want know the source of the drugs except to shame or threaten the supplier. Those are the exact intentions of the people who want to know the identity of the supplier. They have done it before. REPEATEDLY.

A more honest transparency fight would be over the criminal histories of government officials including law enforcement officers.

Anonymous said...

While I personally don't have an issue with a company supplying execution drugs, I think it is perfectly appropriate to allow "shaming." There are many people who have a problem with that type of business activity, and would choose to take their business elsewhere. You can't support free markets when it suits you, and then support secrecy when it doesn't.

If businesses are not willing to offer the drugs publicly, then maybe we, as a society, need to consider other option.

tiapa said...

I'm against the death penalty but I accept it is the law right now. With that said I agree with you Grits, transparency trumps.

For firing squads would they have a problem revealing the bullet, powder, case, and firearm manufacture?

As for the drug manufacturer who wants secrecy, they need to refuse to sell it for the purpose of execution. Put it the Terms and Conditions that using their product for the purposes of killing someone is not allowed. If a government entity violates the Terms and Conditions the onus is on them. Geeze, its not like they going to loose big money. Oh wait, would they stand to lose a contract with TDCJ for normal inmate medications?

I to tire of all this legislative lunacy. They need to get on with business and quit worrying about their backsides.