BATON ROUGE (AP) — A federal judge has dismissed a nearly decade-old lawsuit against executions in Louisiana, saying there’s nothing to challenge because the state can only get the required drugs as medicines.
State officials testified that manufacturers said they’d cut off medical supplies if the drugs were used to kill. U.S. District Judge Shelly Dick noted in her opinion.
Her ruling allows Jessie Hoffman and 10 inmates who later joined the lawsuit filed in December 2012 to file a new one if conditions change. The other inmates include Christopher Sepulvado, who was convicted of killing his 6-year-old stepson in 1992 after the boy came home from school with soiled underwear.
Hoffman’s attorney, Michael D. Rubenstein, told The Advocate last week that his team was reviewing the ruling handed down Wednesday. He and representatives with the Promise of Justice Initiative declined further comment, the newspaper reported.
Louisiana should now join neighboring states in finding ways to execute people sentenced to death, state Attorney General Jeff Landry said Thursday. Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas all have executed people in the last two years, he said in a news release.
Hoffman’s lawsuit accused the state of refusing to let him know how it planned to kill him. At the time, Louisiana wasn’t able to get one of the three drugs listed in a 2010 execution protocol.
Louisiana has since added other drugs. But officials testified they can only get the drugs for health care — the companies would stop selling them to the prison system if they were used for executions, Dick noted.
The state has not carried out an execution since Gerald Bordelon was voluntarily put to death in 2010 for the murder of his 12-year-old stepdaughter, Courtney LeBlanc, the newspaper noted. Louisiana’s last previous execution was in 2002.
From 2014 to 2018, both sides agreed to hold off executions for all inmates on death row.
“Facts and issues involved in this proceeding continue to be in a fluid state,” lawyers for the state wrote. “It would be a waste of resources and time to litigate this matter at present.”