FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE : Tuesday, April 17, 2012
CONTACT: Sara Rabern, (605) 773-3215
Attorney General Jackley Addresses Federal Agency Concerns over
PIERRE, S.D. – On September 23, 2011, the DEA advised the South Dakota Department of Corrections that its supply of lethal injection substance could not be used. On October 5, 2011, Attorney General Jackley advised the DEA that the lethal injection substances were properly cleared by federal authorities through customs, and that the substances had independently tested positive for meeting the U.S. Pharmacopeia’s standards for safety and efficacy. The DEA was reminded that its responsibilities do not include the prevention of a state’s performance of legally imposed death sentences. Attorney General Jackley concluded by accepting the DEA’s offer to work “to promptly come to an appropriate resolution.”
To date, the DEA has not forwarded any further concerns associated with the state of South Dakota’s supply of sodium thiopental.
On April 6, 2012, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has now advised the state of South Dakota “to make arrangements for the return to the FDA of any foreign-manufactured thiopental in [its] possession.” On April 17, 2012, Attorney General Jackley informed the FDA that the lethal injection substances were properly cleared by federal authorities through customs, and that the substances have independently tested positive for meeting the U.S. Pharmacopeia’s standards for safety and efficacy. The FDA was reminded of its own stated position that drugs “used for the purpose of state-authorized lethal injection clearly fall outside of FDA’s explicit public health role.” The FDA was further reminded of the American Society of Anesthesiologists’ concern that death penalty abolitionist have attacked the sodium thiopental supply chain “to the point that the safety of American patients is now in jeopardy.” Attorney General Jackley’s letter went on to inform the FDA that two South Dakota juries have served a death sentence on Donald Eugene Moeller who raped, sodomized, and stabbed to death a nine year old little girl 22 years ago. “Twenty-two years for a victim’s family to await justice is disturbing, particularly in light of Congress’s clear direction to the Department of Justice in the 2006 AEDPA amendments to establish the rules for the state death penalty certification procedures, a responsibility that appears to have gone unfulfilled.” There are presently 34 states that permit use of the death penalty for the most serious offenses.
As with the DEA, Attorney General Jackley concluded by offering to work with the FDA to promptly come to an appropriate resolution.