Virginia AG backs legality of governor's execution plan

AP News
Posted: Apr 19, 2016 9:54 PM

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Virginia's attorney general says he doesn't believe a proposal to allow the state to obtain lethal injection drugs from anonymous compounding pharmacies would violate federal law.

Republican Del. Jackson Miller had asked Attorney General Mark Herring for an opinion before lawmakers reconvene Wednesday to consider Gov. Terry McAuliffe's proposal.

In his opinion released late Tuesday, Herring rejected the argument that federal law allows pharmacies to compound drugs only with a valid prescription.

Herring said it's "settled law" that lethal injection drugs don't constitute a practice of medicine, "rendering a prescription unnecessary and unavailable." He added that no court has ever invalidated a state's lethal injection protocol on those grounds.

McAuliffe's proposal replaces a measure that sought to allow the state to execute inmates in the electric chair if drugs aren't available.