Group leader challenges dismissal of lethal injection drug case

2 years 4 months 4 weeks ago Tuesday, July 14 2015 Jul 14, 2015 Tuesday, July 14, 2015 1:01:00 PM UTC July 14, 2015 in News
By: James Packard and Katie Pylipow, KOMU 8 Digital Producers

JEFFERSON CITY - A leader of an organization claiming the state uses a lethal-injection drug illegally produced and distributed said she was continuing her fight Tuesday.

Jeanette Oxford with Empower Missouri said she filed an appeal Tuesday to challenge Judge Pat Joyce's decision to throw out the organization's lawsuit.

Empower Missouri claimed in a lawsuit last week, the pentobarbital drug the state uses is illegally made.

Oxford told KOMU 8 News she filed an individual appeal.

Lawyers for the Missouri attorney general's office asked Joyce to dismiss the case, claiming it wrongly sought to privately enforce federal food and drug laws.

Joyce heard oral arguments from both sides Friday at the Cole County Circuit Courthouse.

Oxford said the case had to do with current production of the drug and not with the legality of the death penalty. She said the state does not use an FDA approved version of pentobarbital, but rather a version manufactured in a compounding pharmacy. A doctor on contract with the state writes the prescription for the drug, according to Oxford.

The plaintiffs were pushing for a temporary restraining order on David Zink's execution Tuesday. He was convicted of abducting and killing a southwest Missouri woman in 2001.

The Missouri Department of Corrections filed a statement opposing the restraining order. According to the statement, the department claims that "as a matter of law once a death penalty has been affirmed, matters affecting that penalty may only be filed in the Missouri Supreme Court and not another state court."

The lawsuit's attempt to temporarily halt the execution was another reason the state asked Joyce to dismiss the lawsuit. 

Oxford said while her appeal was an individual appeal, the board at Empower Missouri supported her decision. 

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