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Lewis Baach files amicus brief challenging death penalty secrecy law on behalf of Doctors for the Ethical Practice of Medicine

September 10, 2015

WASHINGTON DC (September 10, 2015):  On September 8, the State of Oklahoma filed a brief in the federal Court of Appeals in Denver stating that it does not matter whether a doctor performed competently in supervising an execution by legal injection because, “no reasonable doctor, performing medical services, would place intravenous lines for the purpose of injecting 240 milliequivalents of potassium chloride into a patient.”  Paradoxically, Oklahoma made that statement in defense of its state law which requires the participation of a physician in lethal injection execution, but then mandates that the identity of the doctor be kept secret.  Oklahoma argued that the doctor owes no duty to the condemned man to avoid incompetent or gratuitously cruel medical practice, but rather “the doctor is supposed to help ensure that the inmate dies.” Oklahoma’s brief was filed in response to a brief filed by Doctors for the Ethical Practice of Medicine, which urged the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals not to impose a blanket rule of confidentiality shielding the names of doctors who assist with executions.