Texas execution back on schedule after appeals court overturns ruling
Updated 8 p.m. EDT | A federal appeals court overturned a lower court ruling late Wednesday that required the Texas prison system to disclose additional details about its execution drugs, the Associated Press reports.
The decision came hours after U.S. District Judge Vanessa Gilmore, in a lower-court ruling, halted the scheduled executions of two inmates. At the moment, the appellate ruling only affects one of the two inmates, putting the execution of convicted serial killer Tommy Lynn Sells, 49, back on schedule.
The court will address the other inmate’s case at a late date, the AP reports.
Original story as follows:
A federal judge in Texas halted two planned executions Wednesday because the source and additional details about the lethal drug were not disclosed.
U.S. District Judge Vanessa Gilmore ruled that it violates the inmates’ constitutional rights for the state prison system to conceal detailed information, including the source, about the lethal drug.
The supply of pentobarbital that Texas had been using for executions expired April 1, so the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, TDCJ, received a new supply of the drug, but did not disclose the source. The state prison agency said that releasing information about the lethal drugs, including details on the supplier, has jeopardized the safety and reputations of pharmacies or companies who sell the drug, Austin American-Statesman reports.
Gilmore ordered TDCJ to disclose — under seal, so not available for the public –- the supplier and other details about the lethal drug. Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott’s office informed the attorneys and the court Wednesday that it will appeal the decision.
The execution of two prisoners, Tommy Lynn Sells and Ramiro Hernadez Llanas, had originally been scheduled for April 3 and April 9, respectively.