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States Try to Obscure Execution Details as Drugmakers Hinder Lethal Injection

March 30, 2023


In 2011, Jeffrey Motts was executed in South Carolina. More than a decade later, the state hasn’t carried out another execution because officials have struggled to obtain the drugs needed for lethal injection.

Now, to resume executions, lawmakers are debating a bill that would further shroud the state’s lethal injection protocols from public scrutiny by shielding the identities of the drug suppliers.

More than a dozen states have passed such “shield” laws that conceal key details about the lethal injection process, including the identities of the execution team or drug suppliers, according to the Death Penalty Information Center, a nonprofit research organization. All 17 states that carried out executions between January 2011 and August 2018 withheld some information about the process. Georgia even calls information about its executions a “state secret.”

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