Mon., February 17, 2014 3:27pm (EST)

Attorney For Warren Lee Hill Asks State To Find New Execution Law ‘Unconstitutional’
By Ellen Reinhardt
Updated: 5 months ago

ATLANTA  —  
Manoj Varghese, attorney for death-row inmate Warren Lee Hill, says pharmacies that supply the execution drug  pentobarbital aren't regulated by the FDA, so there is no way to ensure  the drug won’t cause unusual pain and suffering.
Manoj Varghese, attorney for death-row inmate Warren Lee Hill, says pharmacies that supply the execution drug pentobarbital aren't regulated by the FDA, so there is no way to ensure the drug won’t cause unusual pain and suffering.
A lawyer for death row inmate Warren Lee Hill is asking the state Supreme Court to find a new state law regarding executions unconstitutional.

The law makes information about the suppliers and manufacturers of the execution drug pentobarbital a confidential state secret.

Hill’s attorney, Manoj Varghese, told justices Monday the compounding pharmacies that supply the drug aren’t regulated by the FDA, so there is no way to ensure pentobarbital won’t cause unusual pain and suffering.

“There are a host of other issues, such as asphyxiation, pulmonary embolism, essentially the chocking and suffering as you’re dying,” said Varghese.

Justice David Nahmias questions that argument, saying there is no time for adverse effects to take place before an inmate dies.

“You know if the drug is 5,000 milligrams, there is no infection that I have ever heard of that will have any effect whatsoever in the time period at issue.”

The state argues compounding pharmacies need to be kept out of public view because of a backlash to the business. They are worried pharmacies will refuse to make the drug, leaving the state with no alternative.

The Supreme Court is expected to rule on the case in the next four to six months.