State Supreme Court rules Texas can hide the identity of its execution drug supplier

Texas Tribune News

Texas' execution chamber in Huntsville.
Texas’ execution chamber in Huntsville.
 Texas Department of Criminal Justice

The hidden identity of a Texas execution drug supplier will remain a secret.

On Friday, the Texas Supreme Court ruled against decisions by lower courts and said the Texas Department of Criminal Justice can withhold the name of the compounding pharmacy that provided doses of the lethal drug used in Texas executions in 2014. In its decision, the court scolded the appellate court’s ruling for disclosure, saying it “should have credited direct evidence and expert affidavits regarding significant risks of physical harm faced by lethal injection drug suppliers.”

In 2014, three lawyers who represent death row inmates filed suit to reveal the name of a pharmacy that supplied pentobarbital — the sole drug used in Texas executions. They have argued the information was necessary to ensure the drugs were safe at a time when multiple states held “botched” executions with new drug combinations and struggled to find lethal doses. The Texas prison system has argued that the identity of an execution drug supplier must be kept secret to avoid endangering the supplier.

This story is developing and will be updated.