After a nationwide shortage of drugs used in lethal injections, the Missouri Department of Corrections (DOC) last week announced a new drug protocol that could resume executions in the state. The DOC will carry out executions using propofol, a widely used surgical anesthetic. Missouri is the first state in the nation to formally adopt the use of propofol, which replaces a three-drug cocktail.
Shortly after the DOC announced its new protocol, Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster asked the state Supreme Court to set execution dates for nine men. The motion also questioned why the court has yet to schedule executions for 10 others whose execution dates were previously requested.
The pace of executions in Missouri has slowed in recent years because of challenges regarding the constitutionality of lethal injection. It is quite possible that this new drug will also be challenged in court. The MCC and the Missouri bishops will be ready to oppose any execution date that might be set in the state.