Jeffrey Landrigan Execution: Who Cares Where the Drugs Came From?

Jeanne Sager

Jeffrey LandriganJeffrey Landrigan was executed yesterday by the Arizona State Department of Corrections. So why isn't the world celebrating justice served for Chester Dean Dyer?

They're too busy debating whether the drugs in the needle stuck into Landrigan's arm were approved by the FDA.

Oh, America, you love hypocrisy, don't you? There was a state-sanctioned murder ordered by the Arizona Supreme Court and attended by members of the press. And you're still debating whether it was humane?

Let's break it down.

Jeffrey Landrigan is dead.

He doesn't feel any pain today.

In fact he had it much better than Dyer, who was found dead in his apartment in December 1989, strangled by Landrigan with an electrical cord. The two may or may not have been sexually involved. At least Landrigan had a stranger doing the dirty deed to him.

So what's with all the controversy? Anesthetic sodium thiopental has been in short supply in the states, making it hard out there for states who want to be rid of some death row inmates. The drug in Landrigan's death needle came from overseas -- the UK specifically.

Because it had not been approved by the American government for use in lethal injection cases, Landrigan claimed it could cause him pain. Landrigan's attorneys tried to keep him alive with the claim that the drugs violated his constitutional rights to be "free from cruel and unusual punishment."

That's word for word the argument used against the death penalty as a whole, once prompting the Supreme Court to suspend its use because the justices deemed putting people to death in our prisons was indeed a violation of the Eighth Amendment (that's the one that prohibits the government from imposing excessive bail or fines and uses the words "cruel and unusual punishment").

It's back on the table, of course, sanctioned by the feds as an OK way for states to deal with the real bad boys. And so Landrigan wasn't challenging his inevitable death. Just his death by this particular drug.

Ahem, hypocrisy. Ahem.

Lethal injection has been found to cause pain. Even using FDA-approved drugs. And last we checked, it causes death -- which ranks a bit higher on the "OMG, not me" scale.

So does it matter what drug they use? They're still dead.


Image via Arizona Department of Corrections

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