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Why the need for secrecy?



Published: Fri, February 7, 2014 @ 12:00 a.m.

The Joplin (Mo.) Globe: Some Missouri legislators are now calling for the return of the firing squad. Those are the kind of bills that draw attention and make our state the target of ridicule throughout the nation. They also generally are a waste of taxpayers’ time.

But there is a discussion that needs to take place about the death penalty, and that’s whether Missourians are OK with the secrecy that now surrounds the drug being used to carry it out.

As pharmaceutical companies take steps to prevent the use of the products in executions, the shortage of willing drug suppliers has Missouri and other states turning to different types of drugs. Missouri is now using pentobarbital, a drug commonly used to euthanize animals. ... Missouri buys its pentobarbital from an unnamed compounding pharmacy in Oklahoma.

Because of the secrecy and restricted public oversight, we expect every execution in the state to be challenged. It’s what prompted the bill calling for firing squads.

Transparency, in our view, must be present at all levels of government, but especially when it comes to carrying out death sentences.


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