Missouri Dept. of Corrections

Updated 11:15 p.m. - Missouri has carried out its first execution of the year.

Earl Forrest was put to death by lethal injection at the Eastern Reception, Diagnostic and Correctional Center in Bonne Terre. The execution began at 7:10 p.m., and he was pronounced dead at 7:18 p.m., according to a brief statement from the Missouri Department of Corrections.

The Missouri Department of Corrections purposely violated the state’s Sunshine Law when it refused to turn over records revealing the suppliers of lethal injection drugs for executions, a state court judge ruled late Monday.

Cole County Circuit Judge Jon E. Beetem’s decision came in three parallel cases, including one brought by five news organizations: The Kansas City Star, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Springfield News-Leader, The Guardian and the Associated Press.

California Department of Corrections

Is the American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri suing the right person in its effort to crack the veil of secrecy around executions in the state?

That question is in the hands of a three-judge panel of the U.S. Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, following oral arguments Tuesday in St. Louis.

California Department of Corrections

Updated 1:25 p.m. July 17 with the third ruling.

A Missouri judge has ruled that the state Department of Corrections violated the sunshine law when it refused to disclose the name of the pharmacy that supplies drugs for lethal injections.

(via Wikimedia Commons/California Department of Corrections)

Updated 9 a.m. Tuesday with news of Supreme Court's action - The U.S. Supreme Court will not hear a challenge by Missouri death row inmates to the state’s execution protocol.

The high court on Monday denied a request from the inmate's attorneys to consider the case. The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals had ruled that in order to win their claims that Missouri's lethal injection cocktail amounted to cruel and unusual punishment, inmates had to show that a viable alternative was available.

St. Louis Public Radio reporter Chris McDaniel talks to 'St. Louis on the Air' host Don Marsh about investigative journalism on Feb. 10, 2015, at St. Louis Public Radio in St. Louis.
Alex Heuer / St. Louis Public Radio

A few months ago, an investigative report by St. Louis Public Radio reporter Chris McDaniel revealed the state of Missouri was covertly using the drug midazolam before execution warrants were valid, and before witnesses were present to provide oversight. That story led to reforms in the state’s mostly secret execution policies.

Missouri Used Midazolam In Its Most Recent Execution

Jan 22, 2015
via Wikimedia Commons

Missouri used a considerable amount of sedatives on the last inmate it executed before it injected its lethal drug, records obtained by St. Louis Public Radio show. Chemical logs show the state used the controversial drug midazolam for the first time since its use was revealed months ago.

Marcellus Williams is set to die on January 28.
(Missouri Department of Corrections)

Updated 5:00 pm Wednesday, January 14

In a six-page opinion issued on Wednesday, judge Rodney Sippel dismissed Williams' petition, calling the complaint "frivolous."

Williams, Sippel wrote, had plenty of opportunity at both the state and federal levels to challenge the absence of DNA testing. His failure to do so is the reason that he can't ask for the DNA to be tested now.

Read Sippel's order here.

(via Wikimedia Commons/Noahudlis)

A motion for judgment has been filed in a lawsuit accusing the state of violating Sunshine Laws for refusing to provide information related to Missouri executions.

The filing seeks to expedite a lawsuit filed earlier this year by stating there is no dispute in the core facts of the case, which calls on the court to order the Department of Corrections to release details about the drugs used in lethal injections. It also seeks to identify the pharmacies and laboratories that create and test the drugs.

(Joseph Leahy/St. Louis Public Radio)

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.

via Flickr/Nottingham Vet School

Chris McDaniel this week continued his string of significant reports on Missouri’s execution procedure. With painstaking work over several months, Chris and Veronique LaCapra have managed to develop a clear picture of a procedure that officials would rather keep secret. Among the key points they have reported:

Credit Marshall Griffin, St. Louis Public Radio and the Beacon

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. 

(via Flickr/Joe Gratz)

Updated 11:05 pm 12/11/13

Late Wednesday evening, the U.S. Supreme Court vacated a stay of execution for Missouri inmate Allen Nicklasson. Shortly later, the Department of Corrections carried out the execution.

(Missouri Department of Corrections)

Update 7:52 a.m 11/20/13:

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.

(via Wikimedia Commons/California Department of Corrections)

(Last updated Jan. 30, 2014)

California Department of Corrections

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.

(via Flickr/IndofunkSatish)

Judge rules that the CVC must release more Dome documents

The St. Louis Convention and Visitors Commission is being ordered to release more documents related to the renovation of the Edward Jones Dome.

(St. Louis Public Radio)

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.

(via Wikimedia Commons/Noahudlis)

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.

UPDATED 6:08 p.m. Jan. 10, 2011 with comment from Clay's attorney:

Last week we told you that supporters of Richard Clay asked Mo. Gov. Jay Nixon to halt Clay's execution. Well, now it seems that Nixon has granted their request.

The governor issued the following statement this afternoon:

The ACLU of Eastern Missouri says it has learned that the state is running out of its supply of one of the three drugs used in executions.

The ACLU says the state has 50 units of sodium thiopental, but it expires March 1.

The state is preparing for the execution of Richard Clay next week.