Two days after EJI filed a complaint with the Department of Justice, Alabama officials this afternoon admitted that the state’s supply of sodium thiopental obtained from Tennessee has been seized by the DEA and will not be available for scheduled executions in May and June.
The State is now asserting that it will change the execution drugs and protocol without previously disclosing that information to the Alabama Supreme Court, which scheduled executions for condemned prisoners several weeks after the drugs had been seized.
EJI contends that the State is not being forthright or transparent about how it plans to carry out these executions and that the Department of Corrections should not be allowed to make up procedures for carrying out executions without accountability or transparency and in a manner that suggests some deception.
According to EJI Executive Director Bryan Stevenson, “There are different training requirements necessary for the administration of different drugs, but the Alabama Department of Corrections has not established that it has satisfied the necessary preparations and training for carrying out a new execution protocol responsibly, nor has the court approved these protocols.”
The State’s conduct raises questions about the legality and the propriety of the scheduled executions. “In the absence of administrative oversight, the court needs more information than the State has provided regarding their plans for carrying out these executions,” Stevenson said.