In restarting the federal death penalty, AG William Barr looks to Texas
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In restarting the federal death penalty, AG William Barr looks to Texas

JOLIE MCCULLOUGH |
July 25, 2019

The federal death penalty hasn't been carried out since 2003. Now the U.S. attorney general wants to adopt the method used in Texas executions to put five men to death.


In reviving the rarely used federal death penalty, the U.S. Department of Justice announced Thursday it would use the same lethal drug Texas uses in its executions.

Ordering five executions in December and January, U.S. Attorney General William Barr told the federal prisons bureau to adopt an execution method “which closely mirrors” the protocol used in Texas, Georgia and Missouri. A federal death sentence has not been carried out since 2003, when an unofficial moratorium began as questions arose over the constitutionality of lethal injection. There have only been three federal executions in the modern era.

The new protocol replaces the controversial three-drug lethal injection combinationwith the method that Texas has had since 2012 — using only pentobarbital, a sedative. Texas purchases the drug from compounding pharmacies kept secret from the public, where drugs are mixed without federal regulation. The state has used pentobarbital in 79 executions.

Lethal drugs have become hard for states to obtain in the last decade. In 2011, drug manufacturers began blocking their products from being used in lethal injections, making states across the country, including Texas, scramble to find new execution drugs. In recent years, states have either stopped executions because they can’t obtain lethal doses or tried untested, controversial mixtures — sometimes resulting in gruesome deaths.

Credit by - The Texas tribune

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