Gov. Edwards issues statement on death penalty ‘stalemate’

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BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards spoke Tuesday, Mar. 12 on the death penalty, specifically about a legislative hearing on the issue that he says neither his office nor the Department of Corrections (DOC) were invited to attend.

A federal judge has issued a stay of all executions in the state, which has previously been supported by Attorney General Jeff Landry. The issue is many pharmaceutical companies have refused to sell Louisiana any of the drug compounds needed to carry out the state’s drug protocol on lethal injections, meaning no one can be legally executed.

“I took an oath to support the Constitution and laws of the United States and the State of Louisiana. The fact of the matter is that we cannot execute someone in the State of Louisiana today because the only legally prescribed manner set forth in state statute is unavailable to us. In the time since we last had this conversation, nothing has changed; the drugs are not available and legislation has not passed to address concerns of drug companies or offer alternative forms of execution,” Edwards said. “That’s not through any fault of my own or the Department of Corrections. I’m not inclined to go back to methods that have been discarded because popular sentiment turned against them or maybe some methods that were deemed to be barbaric and so forth.”

Louisiana lawmakers hear push for restarting executions

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - Louisiana lawmakers heard hours of testimony about the state's stalled execution process for death row inmates but made no headway in deciding whether or how to resume the use of capital punishment.

Republican Attorney General Jeff Landry pushed for Tuesday's hearing of the House criminal justice committee. He says he wanted to give family members of murder victims, several of whom testified, a platform to talk about "delayed justice."

Democratic lawmakers say Landry simply wanted a hearing to attack Gov. John Bel Edwards.

Louisiana's last execution was in 2010.

The Edwards administration says it can't obtain lethal injection drugs because companies don't want to be publicly associated with executions. Former Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration described similar difficulties.

Landry says Edwards doesn't appear interested in finding ways to carry out executions.

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