Department of Correction Director questioned over the handling of death penalty sases
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Department of Correction Director questioned over the handling of death penalty sases

Date: February 10, 2014
By: John Zupon
State Capitol Bureau

JEFFERSON CITY -  Department of Corrections Director George Lombardi attacked the media for its coverage of the controversy over the department's decision to keep secret the name of the company providing the department with the lethal-injection drug.

“This whole issue, and the way our department has been besmirched and vilified, in the press especially, is really disturbing to me,” Lombardi told the House Government Oversight Committee. “Because this is not what this department is about, and I want every body to understand we are much more than this.”

The committee discussed the fact that the manufacturer of the drug comes from a compound pharmacy. These pharmacies remains anonymous because they do not want to associate themselves with the drug used in the death penalty.

The anonymity is an issue for the inmates. “The inmates did present affidavits by medical experts saying there are risks associated with drugs from a compounding pharmacy because it is unregulated,” said MU Law Professor Paul Litton.

Death penalty attorney Joseph Luby, who said he was concerned about the information that the prisoners are entitled to, was also concerned about the legality of the compound pharmacy.

"The more general problem is just that there are all kinds of shenanigans that have stemmed from the fact that the supplier, the laboratory, and the physician, are secret and the most charitable way I can describe those shenanigans is just to call them sleazy," said Luby.

This comes after legislation was introduced last month to provide a commission to review the procedures of the death penalty, including the question of weather or not to keep private the name of the manufacturer that produces the lethal injection drug, pentobarbital.

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