Texas won’t change its plans after botched OK execution

FILE - This May 27, 2008 file photo shows the gurney in Huntsville, Texas, where Texas' condemned are strapped down to receive a lethal dose of drugs. Texas prison officials say they’ve secured a new supply of pentobarbital that will allow the nation’s most active death penalty state to continue executions. Texas Department of Criminal Justice spokesman Jason Clark also said the prison agency is not identifying the source of the new drug inventory because of threats made against previous suppliers when they were identified as a provider of lethal injection drugs. (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan, File)
FILE - This May 27, 2008 file photo shows the gurney in Huntsville, Texas, where Texas' condemned are strapped down to receive a lethal dose of drugs. (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan, File)

<AUSTIN (KXAN) – On the heels of the execution in Oklahoma that took 43 minutes before the condemned man suffered a heart attack, the State of Texas says it isn’t planning to change its methods.

The Texas Department of Criminal Justice issued this statement Wednesday:

” TDCJ has no plans to change our procedures. Texas does not use the same drugs as Oklahoma as we use a single lethal dose of pentobarbital and we have done so since 2012.”  

Controversy  is swirling following Tuesday night’s botched execution of an Oklahoma inmate using a three drug cocktail. The White House weighed in on the topic Wednesday saying it fell short of humane standards.

Mark White, former Texas governor and co-chair of The Constitution Project’s Death Penalty Committee issued the following statement:

“Last night, we witnessed the latest — and what, by all indications, appears to be the worst — chapter thus far in the practice of human experimentation in the execution of prisoners by lethal injection.

In the face of growing drug shortages due to manufacturers’ refusal to permit use of their products to kill people, some state governments have started down a haphazard and dangerous path. They have begun to hastily attempt to execute prisoners with drugs never before used for that purpose, often with compounds obtained in secret from undisclosed sources, hoping through trial and error to hit on a method that might work. The botched execution of Clayton Lockett is the horrific, if sadly predictable, result. Americans may want tough justice, but most do not want to be cruel or inhumane in executing even the most
heinous of criminals, and this was exactly that.

Some death penalty supporters have complained that death row inmates are only using challenges to lethal injection as a stalling tactic to avoid execution. In fact, as last night’s events so clearly and horribly revealed, the inmates are attempting to enforce their constitutional right against cruel and unusual punishment. In response, the courts, executive officials, and legislatures have been strangely silent or have even insisted on executions going forward without appropriate oversight and protections. That must end. To restore public confidence in our criminal justice system, and to ensure that the events of last evening are never again repeated, states should suspend lethal injections unless effective and transparent standards are in place to protect the constitutional rights of convicted prisoners.”

Oklahoma is one of several states that are unable to obtain pentobarbital for use in lethal injections and have resorted to the new combination of drugs. Ohio became the first state to try the new cocktail amid controversy that the condemned may feel pain or suffer a heart attack as the drugs are administered.

515 inmates have been executed in Texas. Lethal injection is the most common method used across the nation. The first execution by lethal injection in Texas was in 1982.

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