ACLU comments on Virginia lethal injections compromise

aclu virginiaACLU of Virginia Executive Director Claire Guthrie Gastañaga commented on the compromise from legislators to Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s amendments to the electric chair bill.

“After initially voting to reject Governor McAuliffe’s amendments to the electric chair bill, House Bill 815, on reconsideration the House and then the Senate failed the public interest today by agreeing to impose a veil of secrecy on executions in Virginia.

“The governor’s amendments will keep secret the manufacturers of drugs used to kill Virginia’s death row inmates by lethal injection, as well as the chemical nature of those drugs. Virginia’s death penalty laws already promote an outdated and unjust practice that more than a third of states already have abandoned. Injecting secrecy into the process will authorize Virginia to use new, untested, unregulated, undisclosed drugs on human beings against their will.

“This misplaced legislative struggle over the death penalty may now be behind us with an unfortunate result and likely lengthy litigation, but we must ensure that this conversation is not over. It is time for the Commonwealth to engage in a long-overdue discussion of whether Virginia should join the 18 states that have made the ultimate humane choice to discontinue the death penalty entirely.”

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