Professor Deborah Denno shared her expert opinion with The Guardian on the cost of execution drugs purchased by the federal government.
Republican-controlled states are spending astronomical sums of their taxpayers’ money to buy pharmaceutical drugs from illicit dealers in a desperate and almost certainly unlawful attempt to carry out lethal injection executions.Documents obtained by the Guardian reveal the full extent of the spending blitz that American death penalty states have embarked upon as they try to restart executions delayed by the pandemic. The findings show that Republican leaders are not only willing to run roughshod over their own state and federal laws, but are also prepared to spend lavishly in the process.The most jaw-dropping outlay has been made by Arizona, a state in which Republicans hold both chambers of the legislature and the governor’s mansion. A single-page heavily redacted document obtained by the Guardian records that last October the department of corrections ordered 1,000 vials of pentobarbital sodium salt, each containing 1mg, to be shipped in “unmarked jars and boxes”.At the bottom of the document, the record states: “Amount paid: $1,500,000.”…Since then, states have been pushing at legal boundaries in their scramble to evade the boycott of pharmaceutical supplies. “States have switched from one drug to another, crossed state lines to get drugs, paid cash and failed to record the payments to keep the purchases secret,” said Deborah Denno, a professor at Fordham law school.Denno added: “All of those actions are violations of state or federal laws, and all of them have ended up jacking up the price of the drugs.”