Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster says that his speech last Thursday to fellow lawyers, where he laid out the challenges facing Missouri and other states with the death penalty, had everything to do with policy, not politics.
“The purpose of the speech was to continue a serious public policy discussion regarding one aspect of perhaps the most profound act conducted by state government,” Koster wrote in a statement Friday to St. Louis Public Radio.
Every week, St. Louis Public Radio and the Beacon's Chris McDaniel, Jo Mannies and Jason Rosenbaum talk about the week’s politics.
It's another two-part edition of the podcast. Marshall Griffin joins the Politically Speaking crew to talk about Gov. Jay Nixon's State of the State speech and the latest developments involving Missouri's death penalty. Senate Minority Leader Jolie Justus, D-Kansas City, joins Chris, Jo and Jason for the second part of the show.
Missouri carried out the execution of Joseph Paul Franklin a little after 6 a.m. He was put to death after courts overturned Tuesday's stays of execution.
Yesterday, two federal judges issued stays of execution.
The judges took issue with how the state was getting its lethal injection drug from a secret source not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration, and questioned whether the inmate was mentally competent to be executed.
The state of Missouri, led by Attorney General Chris Koster, appealed quickly.
On Tuesday, the Missouri Department of Corrections announced that it had selected a new drug for upcoming executions: pentobarbital.
The change comes following criticism of the questionable methods Missouri had obtained the drug it had previously planned to use, as well as concern that its use could harm hospitals throughout the U.S. The state had planned to use a common anesthetic named propofol, which has never been used to carry out an execution.
Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster is urging the State Supreme Court to set execution dates for 19 death sentences. Koster says no legal barrier is barring the high court from moving forward with the executions.
Koster says 10 cases of capital punishment have already been awaiting execution dates for over 3 years. He gave the court an additional 9 names today and says there is no legal ground for delaying punishment.
Legislation has been filed in the Missouri House that would abolish the death penalty.
If the bill becomes law, any pending executions in Missouri would be halted, and all inmates sentenced to death would be re-sentenced to life without probation or parole. It’s sponsored by State Representative Penny Hubbard (D, St. Louis). She says she doesn’t believe that capital punishment is an effective deterrent.