Attorneys want Virginia’s lethal injections stopped

Posted at 10:32 PM, Apr 24, 2012

RICHMOND, Va (WTVR) --Attorneys say that Virginia executioners are not qualified for the  job because they are unlicensed.

A twenty page document spells out a detailed list of complaints against the Virginia Department of Corrections and its lethal injection practices.

Virginia attorney, Meghan Shapiro says executioners are not qualified for the job as they practice anesthesiology without a license. “Because they’re unlicensed and don’t know how to properly administer anesthesia, they fail to do certain things such as check to see if the inmate is unconscious or not,” says Shapiro.

The identity of executioners are kept confidential by the state, but, Shapiro says she is making these claims based on documents and other materials turned over from prior court cases.

Shapiro tells CBS 6, these documents give her some idea as to who is administering these injections. “Members of the execution team have not had higher than a high school diploma. They certainly are not medical professionals,” says Shapiro.

Shapiro also notes in her complaint that based on those obtained documents, it was revealed that inmates were sometimes given the wrong dosage amount during executions and she goes on to say that training was inadequate.

She claims that executioners spent a lot of time planning picnics and BBQ’s.

Criminal defense attorney, Claire Cardwell says there have been efforts in the past to find out more about executioners and their training, but, it’s sometimes tough to do so because a lot of information is kept confidential by the state.

“We had enough training,” says former Chief Executioner, Jerry Givens.  He carried out more than 60 lethal injections and says Shapiro is making the job seem more complicated than it really is. “It’s just pushing a chemical into a syringe. It’s not hard. I mean, I got common sense,” says Givens.

The Department of Corrections would not comment on this pending legal matter.