There will be no revelations in a legislative committee hearing today about how Missouri carries out executions.
Representative Jay Barnes (R-Jefferson City) says the Department of Corrections’ Director George Lombardi is not going to testify before the House Committee on Government Oversight and Accountability, which Barnes chairs. The Committee is scheduled to hold a hearing to take testimony regarding the death penalty from the Department today.
House Speaker Tim Jones (R-Eureka) asked Barnes to hold hearings on the issue in light of questions regarding the Department’s procurement of execution drugs and how it determines whether a condemned man has exhausted all of his appeals.
Barnes says he had a lengthy telephone discussion Monday with someone “above Corrections,” who informed him that Lombardi would not testify on Tuesday. The reason for the refusal is not being stated publicly.
Without Lombardi, Barnes says he won’t take testimony.
“Every investigation this committee has done has involved testimony from both sides of an issue or occurrence. I want to keep it that way and want to ensure that when there’s a hearing that the Department of Corrections testifies as well as, potentially, people on the other side of the issue.”
Barnes says he has been assured that Lombardi will testify to the Committee at another time, but says it’s disappointing that it won’t be happening today.
“Regardless of where you stand on the death penalty, everyone should agree that it ought to be carried out with respect for our Constitution and the rule of law. These issues are not going away and the Committee is looking forward to exploring them at a future date.”
Barnes says as long as he believes an agreement can be reached to have Lombardi testify at a later date he won’t attempt to use a subpoena to make that happen, but says if the director continues to refuse to appear it would be appropriate to consider a subpoena.
He says the Committee will still meet Tuesday but it will be an organizational meeting only. No testimony will be taken.