Judge: Arkansas too secretive about execution procedures

AP News
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Posted: Mar 30, 2017 7:24 PM

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — The Latest on a lawyer seeking to obtain information about Arkansas execution drugs ahead of an unprecedented run of lethal injections (all times local):

5:50 p.m.

A judge says Arkansas is being too secretive about part of its execution procedures ahead of an unprecedented schedule of lethal injections and must disclose more information about the drugs it intends to use.

Pulaski County Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen found that state confidentiality laws apply to sellers and suppliers, not pharmaceutical companies.

He gave the state 30 minutes to hand the information over to a lawyer for the inmates.

Prison officials who want to execute eight inmates in a 10-day period next month had refused to release packing slips that detail how the drugs are to be used. The Associated Press has previously used the labels to identify drugmakers whose products would be used in executions against their will. The prison system has promised its suppliers anonymity.

Lawyer Steven Shults has said he wants the package inserts to ensure the inmates are put to death as humanely as possible.

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2 p.m.

A lawyer is trying to obtain information about the drugs Arkansas will use in an unprecedented run of executions next month, but prison officials say the information is a secret they must keep.

Steven Shults was in court Thursday seeking the drugs' packing labels. The prison officials say that, after The Associated Press previously used labels to identify drugmakers, they will no longer distribute them.

Shults says Arkansas' execution law requires that the packing labels be disclosed to ensure the inmates will be executed properly. He fears Arkansas' supplier may be violating its contract with pharmaceutical companies that bars their products' use on death row prisoners.

Eight doses of one execution drug expire April 30, so Arkansas has set eight executions in a 10-day period starting April 17.

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Editors: This version corrects spelling of judge's last name to Griffen