The Associated Press explains how Delaware managed to obtain a key execution drug through a “complicated and secretive procurement process” that has allowed the state to conduct executions. The process involved a state official with close ties to the pharmaceutical industry and was kept secret from all but a few Department of Correction officials as it unfolded. Even the attorney general was kept out of the loop for much of the process.
The documents offer a behind-the-scenes look at how Delaware officials navigated a procurement process that can be fraught with political and legal consequences. States have been scrambling to find the sedatives needed to carry executions. When the DOC needed to replenish its supply of lethal injection drugs last spring, it turned to a man who spent years cultivating contacts in the pharmaceutical industry: Delaware Economic Development Director Alan Levin. Before Levin’s involvement, DOC Commissioner Carl Danberg and his staff had tried other ways of getting execution drugs, including sodium thiopental or pentobarbital, without success. But with a single email, Levin, former head of the Happy Harry’s drugstore chain, was able to get the ball rolling, allowing the DOC to get the drugs it needed.