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The Source: All Eyes On Texas After Botched Oklahoma Execution

Flickr user: hitthatswitch

The complication-laden execution of Clayton Lockett, an Oklahoma death-row inmate, last week had everyone from President Obama to the U.N. High Commission on Human Rights weighing in on the tragic and torturous event.

In the aftermath, people are looking towards the Lone Star State with a May 13 execution date set for Robert James Cambell. People are drawing comparisons between the two as the origins of both states' death drugs are kept secret. State officials claim the manufacturers would be put under undue scrutiny and possible threat if the companies were revealed.

The Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TCDJ) has declined to come on our program, but said they have no plans to change their practices. 

"TDCJ does not have plans to change its execution protocol based upon the Oklahoma incident. The Oklahoma incident does not appear to be related to the choice of drugs.” 

Texas uses a single drug to execute its inmates, pentobarbital, not a three-drug cocktail as in Oklahoma.

The secrecy shrouding these drug manufacturers has been challenged in court by Cambell's lawyers. Maurie Levin is one of them and sued the state when representing the first Texas inmate to be put to death with the new regimen earlier this year. 

Does the public's right to know outweigh the state's need to keep the drug coming? Did Oklahoma change the way we think about the death penalty?


  • Deborah Denno, Arthur A. McGiveney professor of law at Fordham University
  • Maurie Levin, death row defense attorney currently suing state to release names of drug manufacturers

*This is the first segment in the May 5 edition of The Source, which airs at 3 p.m. on KSTX 89.1 FM. Audio from this show will be posted by 5:30 p.m.

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Paul Flahive can be reached at Paul@tpr.org and on Twitter at @paulflahive