Eric Holder: End Secrecy Surrounding Execution Drugs

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder is calling on states to be more transparent about the drug cocktails used in executions in the wake of a series of botched lethal injections that have renewed a national debate over the death penalty.

States that impose capital punishment have turned to new suppliers of chemical combinations for lethal injections after European drug makers objected to having their products used for that purpose.

Since then, a number of death row inmates have argued that untested drugs of questionable quality could cause undo harm and suffering in violation of the U.S. Constitution.

A group of death row prisoners sued Arizona in June, saying the secrecy surrounding the drugs used in other failed executions in Ohio and Oklahoma violated constitutional rights.

“There may not be a legal requirement for transparency and talking about, describing the drugs that are used,” Holder told PBS NewsHour in a wide-ranging interview on Thursday. “But you sometimes have to go beyond that which is legally required to do something that is right.”