House Committee to Investigate Execution Protocol of Department of Corrections

The House Committee on Government Oversight and Accountability will hold a hearing on the state’s execution protocol on Tuesday, January 22 at 2:00 p.m.

Regardless of what anyone thinks of the death penalty, everyone should agree that it must be carried out according to the requirements of the Constitution and laws of our state. 

The hearing will focus on two areas of the Department of Corrections’ execution process. 

First, the committee will seek the standards, if any, that the Department has for determining whether the condemned has had all of their constitutional appeals determined by the appropriate courts.

This inquiry is the result of a recent dissenting opinion filed by Judge Kermit Bye in the wake of Missouri’s last execution. In the late December 2013 opinion, Judge Bye wrote:

At approximately 10:52 p.m. on December 11, 2013, Missouri executed Allen Nicklasson before this court had completed its review of Nicklasson’s request for a stay of his execution, a request he brought in a pending action challenging the constitutionality of Missouri’s execution protocol. That bears repeating. Missouri put Nicklasson to death before the federal courts had a final say on whether doing so violated the federal constitution.

Second, the committee will seek information on the Department’s process for determining the new drug it would use for executions, including allegations that the drug was obtained by an unlicensed pharmacy.