Inmates allege Texas plans to use unsafe execution drugs


HOUSTON (AP) — Texas plans to use expired and unsafe drugs to carry out executions early this year in violation of state law, three death row inmates allege in a lawsuit.

Prison officials deny the claim and say the state’s supply of execution drugs is safe.

The first execution, of Robert Fratta, is set for Jan. 10. The state’s highest criminal court of appeals put the lawsuit from Fratta, Wesley Ruiz and John Balentine on hold Friday while it considers an appeal by the Texas Attorney General’s Office. The state wants the case to be decided by a criminal court, not a civil one.

Shawn Nolan, an attorney for Balentine and Ruiz, who are both set for execution in February, criticized Texas’ secrecy in matters related to its execution procedures.

State lawmakers banned the disclosure of drug suppliers for executions starting in 2015. The Texas Supreme Court upheld the law in 2019.

“Texas continues to just really rely on secrecy in these executions and that’s why they’re trying to do an end run around this lawsuit because they don’t want to tell anybody that these drugs are expired,” Nolan said.


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