Ohio legislature rushes to shield lethal-drug info from public records law

November 18, 2014
Category: Uncategorized

The Columbus Dispatch | RCFP

The Ohio General Assembly is moving quickly to pass a bill that would “shield the identity of manufacturers and sellers of drugs used in lethal injection, as well as physicians and members of the execution team who participate in the process,” Alan Johnson reports for The Columbus Dispatch.

Several other states have secrecy statutes regarding the source of lethal injection drugs, Michael Rooney reported this spring for the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. The laws sprang up after the European Union banned the export of drugs that could be used in capital punishment. States have had to turn to “compounding pharmacies” to get drugs, Rooney writes, and fear that “death penalty opponents might pressure those pharmacies to stop producing and supplying the drugs used for execution.”

Prisoners, too, have requested information on the drugs to be used on them. Ohio took 26 minutes to execute Dennis McGuire in January. Ohio used midazolam and hydromorphone to kill McGuire, and “plans to use the same two drugs, but in higher dosages, in the next execution,” Johnson reported in August.

The Ohio Newspaper Association opposes the bill, Dispatch Editor Benjamin J. Marrison reports in a commentary. “Are you OK with this type of secrecy?” he writes.