US Supreme Court Halts Missouri Execution
May 21, 2014

(AP) – The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday halted the execution of a Missouri inmate with a rare medical condition who challenged the state’s refusal to disclose the source of its lethal injection drug.

The justices said a lower federal court needs to take another look at the case of Russell Bucklew, whose execution would have been the nation’s first since last month’s botched execution in Oklahoma. Bucklew had been scheduled to be put to death at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday for the 1996 killing of a man during a violent crime spree, but Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito blocked the execution late Tuesday to give the full court time to consider the matter.

By law, Missouri has a 24-hour window to carry out a scheduled execution, and the ruling from the full Supreme Court Wednesday evening meant the state Supreme Court would have to set a new execution date if Missouri is to carry out the punishment.

Minutes after the U.S. Supreme Court ruling, people who were to have witnessed Bucklew’s execution on the state’s behalf were released. Eric Slusher, a spokesman for Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster, confirmed that no further litigation was expected Wednesday.

“This is something the attorney general’s office is going to have to respond to and take up in court. As a result, we will stand down tonight,” Missouri Department of Corrections spokesman Mike O’Connell told reporters.

Bucklew, 46, suffers from a rare congenital condition – cavernous hemangioma – that causes weakened and malformed blood vessels, as well as tumors in his nose and throat. His attorneys say this and the secrecy surrounding the state’s lethal injection drug combine to make for an unacceptably high chance of something going wrong during his execution. He told The Associated Press last week that he was scared of what might happen during the process.

Nixon Says Bucklew Execution Should Proceed
May 19, 2014

. (AP) – Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon said Monday that he doesn’t see any reason to halt the execution of an inmate whose attorneys claim he could suffer during the lethal injection because of a rare medical condition.

Russell Bucklew, who was convicted of killing a southeast Missouri man during a crime spree in 1996, is scheduled to be the first person put to death in the U.S. since a botched execution in Oklahoma last month. His injection is set for 12:01 a.m. Wednesday.

“This guy committed very, very heinous crimes and while it’s a difficult and challenging part of this job, we’ll continue to move forward unless a court says otherwise,” Nixon told The Associated Press in an interview.

Bucklew, 46, has a congenital condition known as cavernous hemangioma that causes weakened and malformed blood vessels, as well as tumors in his nose and throat. His attorneys, in several court filings and interviews, have said he could experience a great amount of suffering during the execution process, and Bucklew told the AP in a phone interview last week that he is scared of what might happen.

None of the six inmates executed since Missouri switched to pentobarbital last year have shown outward signs of pain or suffering. But when Oklahoma inmate Clayton Lockett’s execution went awry on April 29, it prompted renewed concern over lethal injection

OK Ruling on Missouri Lethal Injection Drugs May Have Broad Impact
February 14, 2014

(AP) – A legal expert says a ruling temporarily prohibiting a compounding pharmacy from selling execution drugs to Missouri could have implications across the country.

U.S. District Judge Terence Kern in Tulsa, Okla., issued a temporary restraining order Wednesday in a suit filed on behalf of condemned Missouri inmate Michael Taylor. The ruling prohibits Tulsa-based Apothecary Shoppe from selling pentobarbital to the Missouri Department of Corrections.

Taylor faces execution Feb. 26. It isn’t clear if Missouri has pentobarbital on hand but Gov. Jay Nixon says the state is prepared to carry out the execution.

Fordham Law School professor Deborah Denno says attorneys for other death row inmates could file similar suits. She says the case could prompt compounding pharmacies to reconsider making and selling execution