Court Rules Arkansas Should Identify Maker Of Lethal Injection Drug

Nov 2, 2017

A file photo of bottles of Midazolam, not representative of the supply of the drug currently held by the state of Arkansas.

Arkansas's highest court has ruled state prison officials must identify the manufacturer of one of the lethal injection drugs they plan to use to put a convicted murderer to death next week.

The state Supreme Court on Thursday upheld part of a lower court's ruling ordering the Department of Correction to release the labels for its supply of Midazolam, one of three drugs Arkansas uses in its lethal injection process. The court said the labels must be released, but said a Pulaski County judge must determine what identifying information other than the manufacturer can be withheld. 

A Pulaski County judge in September ordered the state to release the labels without any information withheld, but justices halted that ordered while the state appealed. Arkansas law keeps the supplier of its execution drugs secret.

Jack Greene
Credit Arkansas Department of Correction

Meanwhile a lawyer for a death row inmate set for execution next week is telling a judge that the state's prisons director doesn't have the expertise to decide whether the man should live or die. Jack Greene's lawyers say doctors should have a greater say on whether Greene understands why he is to be executed. Arkansas law gives the prisons chief's opinion considerable weight.

Television station KATV reported Greene and lawyer John Williams were in Jefferson County Circuit Court on Thursday hoping to stop the Nov. 9 execution. Assistant attorney general Kathryn Henry said any change in the law should come from legislators.

If Greene receives a lethal injection next week, it would be Arkansas' first execution since it put four men to death in an eight-day period in April.