Friday, 7 September 2007

The contract with Dr. Mark Dershwitz of Sherborn, Mass

More LI News from Alabama

The Huntsville Times reports, "$400 an hour contract sought for drug analysis."

Attorney General Troy King's office is proposing a $400-an-hour contract with a Massachusetts physician who will analyze the chemical composition of the lethal drugs that Alabama uses in its executions.

The contract with Dr. Mark Dershwitz of Sherborn, Mass., will run from Oct. 1, 2007, through Sept. 30, 2009. In addition to reviewing the chemical substances, Dershwitz would also be available as an expert witness for the state, if necessary.

Dershwitz's contract would not exceed $3,000 over the two-year period, but it could be renewed.

The contract was requested by Assistant Attorney General Clay Crenshaw, who is head of the Capital Litigation Division, King spokesman Chris Bence said Tuesday.

The proposed contract with Dershwitz will be reviewed today by the Legislature's Permanent Joint Contract Review Oversight Committee.

Dershwitz is a University of Massachusetts professor of anesthesiology who has been an expert witness on behalf of several states, defending their lethal injection methods against constitutional challenges.

Lawsuits challenging lethal injection as cruel and unusual have blocked executions in some states and may prompt others to abandon them. A U.S. Supreme Court ruling in 2006 made it easier for death row inmates to file such suits.

The lethal injection index is here.

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