Bill would bring back the electric chair in Louisiana
Michelle Southern Reporting
Legislation that would bring the electric chair back to Louisiana for executions will be discussed in the upcoming 2014 session. Metairie Representative Joe Lopinto is proposing House Bill 328. He says lethal injections could still be used in capitol punishment, but the Department of Corrections has had problems getting the drug.
"So they are relying on a third party to obtain that medication," says Lopinto. "And it's very difficult to get. It's being restricted by someone else. So, in my opinion, we have to go to a method that doesn't rely on a third party."
Lopinto says lethal injection would still be allowed under this law, but if the narcotics used are not available, then the DOC could be in violation of the court order to put someone to death.
He says we need a backup plan in Louisiana.
"I really don't have a preference on which one we use. The electric chair was the last method we allowed in Louisiana and it's used in other states that have backup measures," Lopinto said. "That's why I thought that would be the good preference."
Lopinto says he was inspired to draw up this legislation after the execution of Christopher Sepulvado, who killed his 6-year-old step son with a screwdriver in 1992, continues to be delayed due to a questionable narcotic cocktail that would be used to inject him.
He Louisiana needs a new way to carry out the order of a jury.
"The Department of Corrections and myself would rather use the lethal injection," said Lopinto. "It's not that we want to go back to the electric chair, but they have a duty to perform once they are ordered by the courts."