The state’s top lawyer thinks the state supreme court is sending the wrong message by refusing to set execution dates for a half-dozen prison inmates.
Attorney General Chris Koster and his predecessor, Jay Nixon, have asked the court to set execution dates for 19 inmates. Last May, Koster specifically asked for dates for nine, saying they had run out of appeals. But that was the same month the corrections department settled on Propofol as the drug of choice for executions. More than 20 inmates have filed a lawsuit saying the drug will cause suffering during their executions and violate constitutional bans on cruel and unusual punishment.
The supreme court has told Koster it’s premature to ask for death dates until the inmates’ lawsuits are resolved. He thinks the court should have set the dates as a way to pressure lower courts into ruling on the inmate suits.
Then-Attorney General Jay Nixon asked the court in April, 2006 to set a date for inmate Jeffrey Ferguson, who killed a 17 year old girl in 1989. That’s the oldest request pending before the state supreme court. Missouri has about four dozen men on death row. The state has executed only two inmates in the last five years.