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Sodium Thiopental

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OPINION
January 27, 2011
In response to violations of international human rights norms, Western governments are slapping sanctions on a rogue regime by halting exports of a deadly substance. That's nothing new; what is new is that the rogue nation is the United States. The substance in question is sodium thiopental, a fast-acting anesthetic designed for surgery that has been put to a more sinister purpose in 34 states, which use it to numb condemned prison inmates before injecting another drug that stops their breathing and a third that stops their hearts.
ARTICLES BY DATE
NATIONAL
February 24, 2012 | By Molly Hennessy-Fiske
The cost of executions is soaring, especially in the state that conducts the most: Texas. The reason? The necessary drugs have become increasingly hard to get. A year ago it cost the Texas Department of Criminal Justice $83.55 for the drugs used to carry out an execution -- sodium thiopental, pancuronium bromide and potassium chloride. Then last March the state was forced to replace sodium thiopental with pentobarbital after the U.S. supplier of the former drug halted distribution amid international protests.
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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 22, 2011 | By Carol J. Williams, Times Staff Writer
The sole U.S. maker of the anesthetic used in executions announced Friday it would stop manufacturing sodium thiopental to prevent its product from being used to put prisoners to death. Discontinuance of the drug that has been in short supply nationwide for the past year portends long-term complications for death penalty states. Some, like California, might have to revise laws governing executions and those seeking supplies from foreign makers may be turned away by countries that condemn capital punishment.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 17, 2011 | By Carol J. Williams, Los Angeles Times
A judge on Friday threw out California's new lethal injection protocols, which have been five years in the making, because corrections officials failed to consider a one-drug execution method now in practice in other death penalty states. In ruling that the new protocols were "invalid," Marin County Superior Court Judge Faye D'Opal noted that one of the state's own experts recommended the single injection method as being superior to the three-drug sequence approved last year. State officials now must decide whether to appeal D'Opal's ruling or again revise the lethal injection procedures that were deemed unconstitutional by a federal judge in 2006.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 2, 2010 | By Carol J. Williams, Los Angeles Times
A San Francisco judge has given state corrections officials until Tuesday to explain how they obtained fresh stocks of sodium thiopental, the key drug used in lethal-injection executions that is no longer available from the sole U.S. manufacturer. The state reported in October that it had acquired 12 grams of the drug ? enough for four executions . On Nov. 22, the office of Atty. Gen. Jerry Brown reported that the state had ordered an additional 521 grams and expected delivery this week.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
September 28, 2010 | Carol J. Williams
A federal appeals court in San Francisco late Monday ordered a trial judge to reconsider a ruling that allowed for a convicted murderer and rapist to be executed this week at San Quentin State Prison. Albert Greenwood Brown was scheduled to die at 9 p.m. Thursday for the 1980 killing of a 15-year-old Riverside girl. But the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals said U.S. District Judge Jeremy Fogel erred by offering Brown a choice of a one-drug lethal injection or a three-drug cocktail.
NATIONAL
February 24, 2012 | By Molly Hennessy-Fiske
The cost of executions is soaring, especially in the state that conducts the most: Texas. The reason? The necessary drugs have become increasingly hard to get. A year ago it cost the Texas Department of Criminal Justice $83.55 for the drugs used to carry out an execution -- sodium thiopental, pancuronium bromide and potassium chloride. Then last March the state was forced to replace sodium thiopental with pentobarbital after the U.S. supplier of the former drug halted distribution amid international protests.
NATIONAL
April 6, 2011
AUSTIN, Texas — A Texas man scheduled to be put to death Tuesday received a stay of execution from the U.S. Supreme Court. It was granted after assertions that inmate Cleve Foster's state-appointed lawyers were ineffective and prevented him from raising claims of innocence. "I'm thrilled that the Supreme Court stayed Mr. Foster's execution and that they will be looking at the important issues raised," said Maurie Levin, Foster's attorney. Texas, which executes more inmates than any other state, has 30 days to respond to Foster's petition for a rehearing.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 9, 2011 | By Carol J. Williams, Los Angeles Times
New legal challenges threaten to further delay California's effort to resume executions despite five years of costly reforms and reconstruction to meet a federal judge's concerns that previous procedures might have inflicted cruel and unusual punishment. U.S. District Judge Jeremy Fogel on Tuesday toured San Quentin State Prison's new $900,000 execution facility, questioning state corrections authorities about the death penalty machinery and methods revised to address the concerns that led him to halt executions in 2006.
NATIONAL
November 14, 2009 | Carol J. Williams
Ohio became the first state in the nation Friday to adopt a single-injection method for executing condemned inmates, a process that state officials believe will avoid violating the constitutional ban on cruel and unusual punishment. The single large dose of anesthetic is similar to the method used by veterinarians to euthanize pets and livestock. Other states with capital punishment now use a three-drug formula that is believed to inflict pain if not properly administered. Richard Dieter, executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center, said that Ohio's new method was "a better alternative."
NATIONAL
April 6, 2011
AUSTIN, Texas — A Texas man scheduled to be put to death Tuesday received a stay of execution from the U.S. Supreme Court. It was granted after assertions that inmate Cleve Foster's state-appointed lawyers were ineffective and prevented him from raising claims of innocence. "I'm thrilled that the Supreme Court stayed Mr. Foster's execution and that they will be looking at the important issues raised," said Maurie Levin, Foster's attorney. Texas, which executes more inmates than any other state, has 30 days to respond to Foster's petition for a rehearing.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 9, 2011 | By Carol J. Williams, Los Angeles Times
New legal challenges threaten to further delay California's effort to resume executions despite five years of costly reforms and reconstruction to meet a federal judge's concerns that previous procedures might have inflicted cruel and unusual punishment. U.S. District Judge Jeremy Fogel on Tuesday toured San Quentin State Prison's new $900,000 execution facility, questioning state corrections authorities about the death penalty machinery and methods revised to address the concerns that led him to halt executions in 2006.
OPINION
January 27, 2011
In response to violations of international human rights norms, Western governments are slapping sanctions on a rogue regime by halting exports of a deadly substance. That's nothing new; what is new is that the rogue nation is the United States. The substance in question is sodium thiopental, a fast-acting anesthetic designed for surgery that has been put to a more sinister purpose in 34 states, which use it to numb condemned prison inmates before injecting another drug that stops their breathing and a third that stops their hearts.
OPINION
January 26, 2011
The tale of the 'Tiger' Re "Parenting experts tackle 'Tiger,' " Jan. 23 A motivated, driven individual of any class, color or creed can become her own drill sergeant, no Chinese "Tiger Mother" needed. Despite the backlash over author Amy Chua's denial to her children of bathroom or water breaks, I imposed similar discipline on myself from middle to graduate school. Regarding the denial of play dates and the ostracization from not watching television, children can socialize with their siblings, who are raised with similar rules, to overcome isolation.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 22, 2011 | By Carol J. Williams, Times Staff Writer
The sole U.S. maker of the anesthetic used in executions announced Friday it would stop manufacturing sodium thiopental to prevent its product from being used to put prisoners to death. Discontinuance of the drug that has been in short supply nationwide for the past year portends long-term complications for death penalty states. Some, like California, might have to revise laws governing executions and those seeking supplies from foreign makers may be turned away by countries that condemn capital punishment.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 2, 2010 | By Carol J. Williams, Los Angeles Times
A San Francisco judge has given state corrections officials until Tuesday to explain how they obtained fresh stocks of sodium thiopental, the key drug used in lethal-injection executions that is no longer available from the sole U.S. manufacturer. The state reported in October that it had acquired 12 grams of the drug ? enough for four executions . On Nov. 22, the office of Atty. Gen. Jerry Brown reported that the state had ordered an additional 521 grams and expected delivery this week.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 17, 2011 | By Carol J. Williams, Los Angeles Times
A judge on Friday threw out California's new lethal injection protocols, which have been five years in the making, because corrections officials failed to consider a one-drug execution method now in practice in other death penalty states. In ruling that the new protocols were "invalid," Marin County Superior Court Judge Faye D'Opal noted that one of the state's own experts recommended the single injection method as being superior to the three-drug sequence approved last year. State officials now must decide whether to appeal D'Opal's ruling or again revise the lethal injection procedures that were deemed unconstitutional by a federal judge in 2006.
OPINION
January 26, 2011
The tale of the 'Tiger' Re "Parenting experts tackle 'Tiger,' " Jan. 23 A motivated, driven individual of any class, color or creed can become her own drill sergeant, no Chinese "Tiger Mother" needed. Despite the backlash over author Amy Chua's denial to her children of bathroom or water breaks, I imposed similar discipline on myself from middle to graduate school. Regarding the denial of play dates and the ostracization from not watching television, children can socialize with their siblings, who are raised with similar rules, to overcome isolation.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
September 28, 2010 | Carol J. Williams
A federal appeals court in San Francisco late Monday ordered a trial judge to reconsider a ruling that allowed for a convicted murderer and rapist to be executed this week at San Quentin State Prison. Albert Greenwood Brown was scheduled to die at 9 p.m. Thursday for the 1980 killing of a 15-year-old Riverside girl. But the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals said U.S. District Judge Jeremy Fogel erred by offering Brown a choice of a one-drug lethal injection or a three-drug cocktail.
NATIONAL
November 14, 2009 | Carol J. Williams
Ohio became the first state in the nation Friday to adopt a single-injection method for executing condemned inmates, a process that state officials believe will avoid violating the constitutional ban on cruel and unusual punishment. The single large dose of anesthetic is similar to the method used by veterinarians to euthanize pets and livestock. Other states with capital punishment now use a three-drug formula that is believed to inflict pain if not properly administered. Richard Dieter, executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center, said that Ohio's new method was "a better alternative."
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