Amid national debate over the disclosure of information about drugs used in executions, Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) officials will appeal a judge's order to disclose the supplier of a new batch of its execution drugs, reports the Texas Tribune. TDCJ officials argue that the identity of execution drug suppliers should be protected based on threats the companies have received in the past. State district Judge Suzanne Covington ordered that the source of execution drugs must be revealed to the attorneys of two convicted killers who sued the state seeking the information.
Maurie Levin, a lawyer for one of the inmates, said she was disappointed in TDCJ's attempts to keep the information secret. “It is unacceptable to keep prisoners or the public in the dark regarding how executions are carried out — including the source of the drugs,” Levin said. Death row inmates Tommy Lynn Sells and Ramiro Hernandez Llanas filed a lawsuit seeking information about the state’s source of the drug pentobarbital, which will be used in their executions scheduled for April 3 and April 9, respectively. Without information about where the drugs come from and their purity, potency and integrity, the inmates can’t evaluate the risk that their executions might subject them to cruel and unusual pain, in violation of the Eighth Amendment, the lawsuit argues.