Midday Roundup: Pharmacy won't fill execution drug prescription

by Leigh Jones
Posted 2/18/14, 12:45 pm

Lethal prescription. A compounding pharmacy in Oklahoma has agreed not to provide the deadly drug needed for an execution scheduled for next week in Missouri. Lawyers for death row inmate Michael Taylor sued The Apothecary Shoppe claiming the drug could cause “inhumane pain.” The pharmacy agreed not to make the lethal cocktail in exchange for the lawyers dropping the suit. But it’s not clear whether the legal victory will delay Taylor’s execution. Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon would not say whether the state has enough of the drug stockpiled but emphasized that the Department of Corrections was prepared to move forward as planned. States are increasingly turning to compounding pharmacies to make the drugs needed for lethal injections after European drug makers have refused to sell them to U.S. prisons. Death penalty opponents are targeting the compounding pharmacies, saying the drugs they make are not tested or proved to be effective without causing undo distress.

Busted. Police in Zimbabwe have arrested former U.S. Rep. Mel Reynolds (D-Ill.), a convicted sex offender, for possessing pornography at a hotel in Harare, the nation’s capital. Possession of pornography is a crime in the country. Officials were investigating Reynolds for being in the country without a valid visa. Reynolds also racked up $24,500 in unpaid hotel bills. The former congressman resigned his House seat in 1995 after being convicted of sexual assault and solicitation of child pornography. While serving a five-year jail sentence, he was convicted of bank fraud and sentenced to another six and a half years. Former President Bill Clinton commuted his sentence in 2001.

Not responsible. In the middle of a particularly deadly ski season, a Colorado court has absolved a popular resort of responsibility for an avalanche that killed a skier in 2012. The Colorado Court of Appeals ruled 28-year-old Christopher Norris assumed a risk inherent to skiing when he took to the slopes at Winter Park. Most of the nine avalanche-related deaths that have occurred in the past 10 days happened in the backcountry, away from groomed areas. But the court ruled the state’s Ski Safety Act gives resorts immunity from prosecution for avalanches that kill skiers, like Norris, on monitored ski runs.

Special delivery. A commercial supply capsule left the International Space Station (ISS) today, filled with trash en route to a fiery reentry into Earth’s atmosphere over the Pacific Ocean. The capsule, named Cygnus, delivered 3,000 pounds of goods, including belated Christmas presents, to the six astronauts aboard the ISS five weeks ago. After removing all of the delivery from the craft’s cargo bay, the astronauts loaded it up with garbage. Orbital Sciences Corp. built the delivery ship turned trash incinerator under a $1.9 billion NASA contract. The government is paying Orbital and SpaceX, the private space company started by Tesla founder Elon Musk, to keep the ISS stocked. SpaceX will launch the next supply capsule on March 16.

Leigh Jones

Leigh lives in Houston with her husband and daughter. She is the news editor for The World and Everything in It and reports on education for WORLD Digital.

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