Virginia would not run afoul of federal law or violate death row inmates’ constitutional rights by passing a law allowing the state to obtain lethal injection drugs from secret sources, according to an opinion released late Tuesday by Attorney General Mark R. Herring.
In a 13-page document, Herring responded to a series of Republican and Democratic lawmakers’ questions about a pending death penalty bill that will be a major focus when the General Assembly reconvenes today to take up Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s vetoes and amendments.
Gov. Terry McAuliffe said Monday that he has proposed keeping secret the identities of pharmacies that supply lethal-injection drugs for executions, instead of changing the law to force inmates to die in the electric chair if there are no available drugs.
McAuliffe stripped the contentious electric-chair provision from a bill and vowed to veto the measure if lawmakers reintroduce it. He warned that unless Virginia shields lethal-injection-drug manufacturers from public scrutiny, capital punishment in the state will come to a halt.