The name of the compounding pharmacy supplying lethal injection drugs for Texas executions must be released because it is public information, says a court ruling reported by the Texas Tribune. State District Judge Darlene Byrne granted summary judgment in favor of three lawyers who work for death row inmates, Maurie Levin, Naomi Terr and Hilary Sheard. “It's a big deal,” plaintiffs attorney Philip Durst said. “It goes to the topic of how we provide [public] information.” Because the Texas Department of Criminal Justice is expected to appeal, however, it may be a while before the name is revealed.
The names of the pharmaceutical companies providing lethal injection drugs were long made public, and Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott has confirmed that drug supplier names are public information. That changed when the state was forced to turn to compounding pharmacies. Last May, Abbott, during his campaign for governor, sided with the state after the agency secured a “threat assessment” from the Texas Department of Public Safety stating that the pharmacies “by design are easily accessible to the public and present a soft target to violent attacks.” If the agency names the pharmacy-supplier, the department reasoned, it would present a “substantial” threat of physical harm to the pharmacy. In Ohio, a bill shrouding parts of Ohio's execution process in secrecy cleared the Senate yesterday, with an added provision requiring a review of how killers are put to death amid ongoing legal questions over lethal injection, the Columbus Dispatch reported.