Supreme Court orders release of some execution drug information | Arkansas Blog

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Supreme Court orders release of some execution drug information

Posted By on Thu, Nov 2, 2017 at 1:33 PM

The Arkansas Supreme Court ruled this afternoon that Circuit Judge Mackie Pierce was correct in ruling that the state Correction Department must supply labels and package inserts for the execution drug midazolam that had been sought by Steve Shults of Little Rock in a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit.

But the court, in an opinion written by Justice Courtney Goodson, said the Correction Department could redact information on the labels that identified the seller of the drug to the state, such as lot and batch numbers. Judge Pierce had not taken that position.

The Supreme Court said Pierce was correct in reading the state statute as protecting some people in the drug supply chain, but not manufacturers. The Correction Department has argued that the nature of the way manufacturers print their labels make it possible for observers to find out other information about the supplier.

The court said the mandate would issue for release of the material in three days unless there's a request for a rehearing. Arkansas has an execution scheduled Nov. 9 though lawyers for inmate Jack Greene are trying to stop it because of his mental condition.

The Court was fractured on the case. Chief Justice Dan Kemp and Justices Rhonda Wood, Robin Wynne and Shawn Womack parted company in part. Justices Karen Baker and Jo Hart apparently joined Goodson without reservation.

Womack wouldn't have released the manufacturers information, but he concurred to the extent that he agreed with redaction of seller and supplier information. Wood joined him. Wynne and Kemp disagreed on sending the case back to Pierce to consider what information should be redacted from labels because they said Judge Pierce had already provided for that in his order by directing confidentiality for sellers, providers, testing labs, pharmacies and others.

A spokesman for Attorney General Leslie Rutledge commented:

“The Arkansas Supreme Court has correctly concluded that the lot, batch and control numbers on lethal injection drug labels should remain confidential under state law. While the Attorney General does not agree with other aspects of the Court’s ruling, she is pleased that the Court agreed with her arguments on this point.

Here's the full opinion.

PS: This is the second case in which the state has been ordered to provide manufacturer information. In the earlier decision by Judge Wendell Griffen, the opinion noted that the lot and batch information ordered redacted in this case is FDA-required and a quality control measure that does not provide a means to trace supplier or seller.

Tags: , , , ,

From the ArkTimes store

Favorite

Comments

Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

Readers also liked…

  • Saturday's open line

    Got any thoughts? Put them here.
    • May 21, 2016
  • Police identify two women found fatally shot on Chicot Road

    Little Rock police have identified two women found dead of gunshot wounds in an SUV parked next to a vacant trailer in a mobile home park at 11500 Chicot Road.
    • May 16, 2017
  • Kenneth Starr: A comment from Betsey Wright

    Betsey Wright, former President Bill Clinton's chief of staff when he was Arkansas governor, responds bitterly to a New York Times article today quoting Whitewater Prosecutor Kenneth Starr's warm words about Clinton. She can't forget the lives Starr ruined in Arkansas.
    • May 24, 2016

Most Shared

  • Industrial hemp pilot program coming soon to Arkansas

    One of the booths at this week's Ark-La-Tex Medical Cannabis Expo was hosted by the Arkansas Hemp Association, a trade group founded to promote and expand non-intoxicating industrial hemp as an agricultural crop in the state. AHA Vice President Jeremy Fisher said the first licenses to grow experimental plots of hemp in the state should be issued by the Arkansas State Plant Board next spring.

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments

Blogroll

 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation