Arizona lets death row inmates bring their own lethal injection drugs to executions


“BYO” is often seen on invitations asking people to bring booze, but it’s unusual for the practice to be applied to the death row arena. Arizona has done just that, however, requesting inmates up for execution to bring their own lethal injection drugs.

There is a dearth of lethal injection drugs in the United States after the European Union banned the export of medication used in capital punishment to the US, citing it as a violation of the EU Torture Regulation of 2012.

Since then, states have resorted to using different drug cocktails for the procedure. When that fails, they have fallen back on outdated methods like the electric chair or a firing squad.

Arizona, however, appears to be more creative in its approach for obtaining either of two barbiturates, pentobarbital or thiopental. It updated its protocols last month, in part as a response to running out of death penalty drugs, the state says that attorneys for death row inmates can bring their own lethal injection drugs.

“If the inmate’s counsel or other third parties acting on behalf of the inmate’s counsel are able to obtain from a certified or licensed pharmacist, pharmacy, compound pharmacy, manufacturer, or supplier, a sedative, pentobarbital, or an anesthetic, sodium pentothal, they can then provide the department with those drugs.”

Corrections Director Charles Ryan will still have “sole discretion as to which drug protocol will be used for the scheduled execution,” the document said.

There’s just one problem with that plan.

“This is a bizarre notion that calls for actions that are both illegal and impossible,” Dale Baich, of the Federal Public Defender’s Office in Arizona, told the Arizona Republic.

“A prisoner or prisoner’s lawyer cannot legally obtain these drugs or legally transfer them to the Department,” he added. “Under the federal Controlled Substances Act, we cannot imagine a way to obtain the drug. Those that obtain controlled substances illegally, go to prison.”

Megan McCracken, a lethal injection expert at the University of California Berkeley School of Law, had a similar assessment. The clause is “unprecedented, wholly novel and frankly absurd. A prisoner or a prisoner’s lawyer simply cannot obtain these drugs legally, or legally transfer them to the department of corrections, so it’s hard to fathom what the Arizona department was thinking in including this nonsensical provision as part of its execution protocol,” she told the Guardian.

I guess they were thinking since they’re already in prison and on death row, hey, what’s another charge? Can’t send them to prison when they’re already there; can’t increase their sentence when they’re already sentenced to be poisoned to death! 🙂

Elon Musk: Humans must merge with machines or become irrelevant in AI age

Resistance is futile. You will be assimilated. Or something.

Billionaire Elon Musk is known for his futuristic ideas and his latest suggestion might just save us from being irrelevant as artificial intelligence (AI) grows more prominent.

The Tesla and SpaceX CEO said on Monday that humans need to merge with machines to become a sort of cyborg.

“Over time I think we will probably see a closer merger of biological intelligence and digital intelligence,” Musk told an audience at the World Government Summit in Dubai, where he also launched Tesla in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

“It’s mostly about the bandwidth, the speed of the connection between your brain and the digital version of yourself, particularly output.”

Musk explained what he meant by saying that computers can communicate at “a trillion bits per second”, while humans, whose main communication method is typing with their fingers via a mobile device, can do about 10 bits per second.

In an age when AI threatens to become widespread, humans would be useless, so there’s a need to merge with machines, according to Musk.

“Some high bandwidth interface to the brain will be something that helps achieve a symbiosis between human and machine intelligence and maybe solves the control problem and the usefulness problem,” Musk explained.

The technologists proposal would see a new layer of a brain able to access information quickly and tap into artificial intelligence. It’s not the first time Musk has spoken about the need for humans to evolve, but it’s a constant theme of his talks on how society can deal with the disruptive threat of AI.

Blah blah blah.