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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Lawyers accuse Texas of illegally purchasing execution drugs


    Attorneys for two death row inmates asked state and federal law enforcement officials Wednesday to investigate claims that the Texas Department of Criminal Justice illegally purchased drugs used in executions.

    In letters to the Texas Department of Public Safety and Attorney General Eric Holder, attorneys Maurie Levin and Sandra Babcock accuse the state of providing false information to aDrug Enforcement Administration database used to monitor the sale and use of controlled substances.

    According to Levin and Babcock, the agency has been purchasing execution drugs using a registration number assigned to the Huntsville Unit Hospital, which closed in 1983. Registration numbers must be renewed every three years.

    “”As far as we can tell, they are breaking state and federal law,”” Levin said. “”The laws exist for a reason and they should not be exempt from them.””

    Jason Clark, spokesman for the Department of Criminal Justice, contends the agency did nothing wrong.

    “”We are still reviewing the allegations but are confident that we have not violated any state or federal law,”” Clark said in a written statement. “”We will cooperate fully with any investigation.””

    Raul Reyes, spokesman for the University of Texas Medical Branch said that the institution operates 112 outpatient facilities in Texas prisons, including the Huntsville unit, but said they don’t order, possess or distribute any of the drugs used in executions.

    The letter contends that the drugs are “”neither kept by a pharmacy, hospital or clinic, nor dispensed by an authorized practitioner.”” A purchase order invoice names Warden James Jones as the recipient.

    The letter also notes that the Drug Enforcement Administration may revoke the violator’s registration and confiscate any drugs illegally obtained. Cleve Foster, Levin’s client, is scheduled to be the first inmate executed using the newly revised lethal injection protocol.

    This week, Levin and Babcock sued the criminal justice department, accusing officials of violating the Texas Administrative Procedures Act, which requires public notice and a comment period before changes can be authorized.

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