Legal Challenges to Mississippi Executions

Lawsuits about the sedative used in Mississippi’s execution protocol are, thankfully, preventing the state from resuming executions. 

Jim Craig, of the MacArthur Justice Center, represents three death row inmates who are challenging the use of midazolam as a sedative. They claim that midazolam both contravenes the state’s own requirements, and creates a substantial risk of serious harm and severe pain. 

In addition, Craig is fighting the states of Missouri, Georgia and Texas in court. He is asking them to divulge the source of their pentobarbital, the sedative which they use for executions. He argues that he needs this information in order to challenge Mississippi’s assertion that it cannot procure pentobarbital (Mississippi has, in the past, used pentobarbital as a sedative).

Another lawsuit challenges the legality of using any lethal injection drug that has been compounded from raw ingredients (the pentobarbital used by other states has probably been produced in this way).

We hope that these lawsuits are successful. And we are happy that, for now at least, the threat of executions does not hang over Mississippi’s death row. For now, Willie Manning will be spared the trauma of watching men being forcibly led off to die; his own brush with execution would make this all the more harrowing.

We are grateful for Craig’s persistence: for now, it is keeping inmates alive.

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