A lawsuit has been filed that accuses Missouri of violating federal laws and its on in how its Department of Corrections gets the drug it uses in executions.

Cole County Courthouse, Jefferson City

Cole County Courthouse, Jefferson City

The lawsuit alleges Missouri has a compounding pharmacy make a copy of an FDA-approved drug that is otherwise available, which would be a violation of state and federal laws. It also says that drug is made to fill a prescription written by a doctor that is under contract with the Department of Corrections, and writes it at the Department’s request without conducting an examination, making the prescription invalid under state and federal law.

“That doesn’t appear to be an ethical way to do that,” said Jeanette Mott Oxford, executive director of Empower Missouri and one of the plaintiffs in the suit.

“This suit is not about the legality or the constitutionality of the death penalty so much as it is about whether Missouri is following the law and how it obtains the drugs for the execution,” Oxford told Missourinet.

She is joined by fellow plaintiffs Joan Bray, who like Oxford is a former Democratic Missouri state legislator; Sister Mary Ann McGivern, a Catholic Nun and a member of Empower Missouri’s Criminal Justice Task Force; and the Reverend Elston K. McCowan, a Baptist minister and chairman of the Missouri NAACP’s criminal justice and prison committee.

Several of the 16 inmates executed since November, 2013, have challenged Missouri’s use of pentobarbital or its method of securing the drug, without success.

A hearing was held Friday on the group’s request for an injunction to put off the execution of David Zink, scheduled for Tuesday, while its case is being considered.

“We think that it should be halted, or any other person who would be scheduled to die soon, that this should be considered before those executions happen,” said Oxford.