Lawsuit says Texas execution drug change improper

AP News
Posted: Mar 29, 2011 12:25 PM
Lawsuit says Texas execution drug change improper

Attorneys for two condemned Texas inmates are challenging the state's change of a drug used in the lethal mixture for executions.

Lawyers for Cleve Foster and Humberto Leal filed suit Tuesday in a state district court in Austin. They say Texas Department of Criminal Justice officials failed to comply with proper administrative procedures when they announced two weeks ago that pentobarbital would replace sodium thiopental as one of three drugs used in executions.

A nationwide shortage of sodium thiopental has prompted the change.

Foster is set to die next week. He would be the first Texas inmate to be executed using the different drug. Leal's execution date is in July.

The suit says the agency violated the Texas Administrative Procedures Act that requires notice and comment before changing the procedure.