Lawyers for a Texas inmate who is set to be executed next week are asking that his execution be blocked, citing last week's bungled execution in Oklahoma.
Maurie Levin, a law professor at the University of Texas and the lead attorney in the appeal filed today in federal court in Houston, says the situation in Texas is similar to the situation in Oklahoma, where an inmate died of a heart attack shortly after his execution by lethal injection was ordered halted.
"The botched execution in Oklahoma has made it clear that the significant risk of a tortuous death is a very real threat when states aren't required to facilitate executions with transparence, accountability and disclosure of the sort sought, and denied, in Oklahoma," Levin said.
Clayton Lockett was suffering from clear pain and discomfort after the needle delivering the first of a three drug cocktail became dislodged during his execution.
Texas prison spokesman Robert Hurst said the Oklahoma experience will not affect Texas, which carries out more executions than any other state.
"Texas does not use the same drugs," Hurst told 1200 WOAI news. "We use a single lethal dose of pentobarbital and have done so since 2012."
Texas has declined to state where it obtains the drugs it uses for lethal injection executions. Most major pharmaceutical companies include operations in Europe, and the European Union does not allow drugs connected to European firms to be sold for execution purposes, so Texas is believed to obtain its drugs from an independent 'compounding pharmacy.'
"These compounding pharmacies operate outside of FDA oversight, making it impossible to know if the drugs have been properly prepared and tested in order to ensure the execution will be carried out in a manner that comports with the Constitution," Levin said.
She says Texas is 'known' to possess midazalom, the drug that was being injected into Lockett when he suffered the reaction.
"We don't know what Texas uses, we don't know what they are going to use in the future," Levin told 1200 WOAI news Tuesday. "They have the unilateral power to change the drugs they use in the future.
Robert James Campbell, 41, is set to be executed May 13th for the 1991 murder of Alexandra Rendon. The 20 year old Houston bank teller was abducted by Campbell and a co defendant while she was putting gas in her car, robbed, raped, and then taken to a field where Campbell told her to 'run.' As she was running, Campbell shot her in the back and left her to die.