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   A federal judge agreed late Wednesday to temporarily block an Oklahoma pharmacy from providing an execution drug to the Missouri Department of Corrections for use in an upcoming lethal injection.

   The temporary restraining order was issued after a federal lawsuit was filed in Tulsa by Missouri death row inmate Michael Taylor. His attorneys said the department contracts with The Apothecary Shoppe in Tulsa to provide compounded pentobarbital, the drug set to be used in Taylor's execution on Feb. 26.
   The lawsuit argued that several recent executions involving the drug indicate it would likely cause Taylor "severe, unnecessary, lingering and ultimately inhumane pain."
   In his order Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Terence Kern wrote that Taylor's attorneys submitted "facts demonstrating that immediate and irreparable injury, loss, or damage will result to plaintiff before defendant can be heard in opposition."
   The judge set a hearing for Tuesday and ordered the pharmacy to submit a response to the injunction by Friday. He said the order would remain in effect at least until the hearing.
   But it wasn't immediately clear if the execution would be delayed because of the ruling. The state has not revealed the name of the compounding pharmacy supplying the drug, and The Apothecary Shoppe previously declined to confirm or deny that it was the source of a drug used in an earlier Missouri execution.
   A pharmacy spokeswoman did not return telephone calls seeking comment late Wednesday. Phone and email messages were also left with the Missouri Department of Corrections and the Missouri Attorney General's Office.
   Taylor, 47, pleaded guilty in the 1989 abduction, rape and stabbing death of a 15-year-old Kansas City girl.
   One of Taylor's attorneys, Matthew Hellman of the Washington, D.C., law firm Jenner & Block, said the lawsuit focuses attention on the drug used in Missouri's lethal injections and the laws regarding compounding.
   "We're gratified the court entered the order," Hellman said after the Wednesday order. "This lawsuit is about an unacceptable option in carrying out the death penalty and this is why we're seeking to stop The Apothecary Shoppe from providing this unlawful drug."
   Missouri corrections officials turned to The Apothecary Shoppe to supply compounded pentobarbital after manufacturers of the drug refused to provide it for lethal injections, according to the lawsuit.
   In January 2012, a Danish company that had produced pentobarbital under the trade name Nembutal sold the exclusive rights to the drug to an American company, Akorn Inc., on the condition that Akorn not sell the drug for use in executions.
   "Those manufacturers do not want medication to be used for executions," Hellman said.
   Taylor's lawsuit questions whether the pharmacy can legally produce and deliver compounded pentobarbital. It says the pharmacy is not registered as a drug manufacturer with the Food & Drug Administration and alleges it violates federal law each time it delivers the drug across state lines to Missouri corrections officials.
   Along with asking for a temporary restraining order, the lawsuit seeks an injunction barring the pharmacy from delivering "this unidentified, unregulated, untested and unsafe pharmaceutical product." Hellman declined to say whether The Apothecary Shoppe also sells compounded pentobarbital to states other than Missouri.
   Several recent executions that involved compounded pentobarbital indicate use of the drug will subject Taylor to "inhumane pain," the lawsuit says.
   One such execution was that of Oklahoma death row inmate Michael Lee Wilson, 38. Within 20 seconds of receiving the lethal injection at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary on Jan. 9 Wilson said: "I feel my whole body burning." The lawsuit alleges the statement describes "a sensation consistent with receipt of contaminated pentobarbital."
   The lawsuit also sites an Oct. 15, 2012, execution in which South Dakota death row inmate Eric Robert, 50, cleared his throat, gasped for air and then snored after receiving the lethal injection. His skin turned a purplish hue and his heart continued to beat for 10 minutes after he stopped breathing. It took 20 minutes for authorities to finally declare Robert dead.
   "These events are consistent with receipt of a contaminated or sub-potent compounded drug," the lawsuit says.
   Use of the same drug in Taylor's execution could result in a similar reaction, Hellman said.
   "It is extremely disturbing," he said.
   On Monday, Missouri Corrections Department Director George Lombardi told a legislative panel that the agency pays for the drug to be independently tested to make sure it works and is sterile. He also said the agency had found no substantial issues in a background check of its current supplier.
   Lombardi did not release the name of the pharmacy that provides the drug, saying Missouri could not carry out lethal injections if that information were released. He said the state pays $8,000 in cash to the pharmacy for the drug.

 

Thursday, 13 February 2014 00:23
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St. Louis, MO (KTRS) - St. Louis City leaders are appealing a circuit court judge's ruling that the city must stop issuing red light camera tickets.
 
City Counselor Mike Garvin says that is confusing, because the city thought they addressed any problems in the program cited in a 2013 ruling. Garvin says the city will appeal the decision and will ask a judge to allow the city to continue issuing tickets until the Supreme Court weighs in.
 
"There's been 6 or 7 decisions in the last year that say different things about red light cameras", Garvin told KTRS News. "It's very hard for us to try to calculate our actions on these varying decisions, because they are all different."
 
On the other side of the issue, Police Chief Sam Dotson views the red light camera system as a matter of public safety. Dotson says with the cameras in place, his officers are freed to focus on preventing crime in the community. He says the cameras perform an essential service.
 
"Studies have shown, and we've seen in the city of St. Louis, that intersections that have red light cameras: fewer people get repeat tickets, fewer accidents occur, and people are safer," Dotson told KTRS. 
 
As for what you should do if you have an unpaid red light ticket from the city. Both Garvin and Dotson say the program could be reinstated and those tickets might come due, but if you have questions, you should contact an attorney.
Wednesday, 12 February 2014 17:07
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Police have identified the victim of a hit-and-run accident in Chesterfield Wednesday.

 

Authorities say the 41-year-old victim, now identified as Joseph Roy, was walking along Olive Blvd about a mile west of Highway 141, when he was hit. Roy was was found lying in the snow around 7 AM.

 

Police have not released any information on the driver involved in the accident. 

Wednesday, 12 February 2014 16:39
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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - The Missouri Senate has delayed a debate on tax cuts while negotiations continue with Gov. Jay Nixon's office.
 
Senators had been expected to debate legislation Wednesday that would cut income taxes for individuals and many businesses.
 
But Senate Majority Leader Ron Richard said that debate will wait until next week to give more time for the Republican sponsor of the measure to try to work out a compromise with the Democratic governor's office.
 
Nixon vetoed an income tax-cut bill passed last year, citing technical problems and concerns that the measure could drain money available for public schools.
 
Richard said negotiations are focused on the dollar amount of the proposed tax cut and whether it should apply both to individual and businesses that report income on individual tax returns.
Wednesday, 12 February 2014 16:37
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