by Bill Rankin
…Sachin Varghese, one of Hill’s attorneys, said if the state provided a sample of the pentobarbital and tests showed the drug had no problems, “it would certainly get us much further in saying there is no issue.”
Justice David Nahmias wondered how Hill could overcome a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in 2008 that upheld Kentucky’s method of execution by lethal injection. In that decision, the high court said a condemned inmate must show that a state’s execution method “creates a demonstrated risk of severe pain” and that there are readily available alternatives that would “significantly” reduce that risk.
If the state is getting its supply of pentobarbital from a licensed compounding pharmacy, how can Hill show there is such a risk? Nahmias asked. As for compounding pharmacies, he added, “We let them prescibe drugs for everybody in this room.”
Hill’s attorney Varghese said he would assume state officials will act properly.
But because of the secrecy law, “The truth is we don’t know,” he said. “ … The Legislature may not prohibit the judiciary access to information necessary to prove a cruel and unusual punishment challenge to the means of execution.”