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August 20, 2011

Ohio ready to try to get its machinery of death back in operation

As detailed in this local article, which is headlined "Ohio expects OK to execute; Procedures tightened, but judge will rule on lethal injections," yesterday Ohio issues tweaked lethal injection rules in the hope of getting a federal judge to lift the current injunction on the state's execution methods.  Here are the details:

Ohio prisons officials say they expect to resume executions next month after submitting a revised lethal-injection procedure to a federal judge. But it will be up to U.S. District Court Judge Gregory L. Frost to make that call.

The 17-page protocol signed by prisons director Gary C. Mohr and submitted yesterday in a state filing with the court makes no dramatic changes. But it “bolsters documentation and clarifies instructions,” said Carlo LoParo, spokesman for the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction.

“Also, it requires an independent review of each lethal-injection procedure,” he said. “This is intended to assess and ensure adherence to the policy and provide recommendations for improvement." It does not change the drug used in executions, pentobarbital. Ohio is the only state to use a single drug for lethal injection.

On July 8, Frost indefinitely halted the scheduled July 19 execution of Kenneth Wayne Smith, 45, of Hamilton. The judge criticized the state’s adherence to its own procedures and protocol as “haphazard” and unacceptable. The lethal-injection issue prompted Gov. John Kasich to postpone the scheduled Aug. 16 execution of convicted killer Brett Xavier Hartmann, 37, of Summit County, for 15 months.

“The new policy is the result of a comprehensive quality-control review of all aspects of the management of the offender prior to and through the lethal injection procedure,” LoParo said. “It mandates explicit compliance with all aspects of the written policy directive.” LoParo said the agency is moving ahead with plans for the Sept. 20 execution of Billy Slagle of Cuyahoga County....

The new policy adds a “quality assurance review” process to be overseen by a special assistant. After each execution, the reviewer will “evaluate the performance of the execution team, review the conduct of court-ordered executions” and report to the director.

Ohio has executed four men so far this year and 45 since capital punishment resumed in 1999.

It will be very interesting to watch how the Ohio defenders and Judge Frost respond to the new protocol in the weeks ahead.  Stay tuned.

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August 20, 2011 at 11:47 AM | Permalink

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Comments

I suspect the dimwitted Frost (read his latest opinion--criticizing the state for having a doctor help) will give the ok here. He doesn't want to get reversed by the Sixth Circuit. Everyone knows his EPC conclusions are utter crapola. Frost needs to be permanently removed from the Cooey case. He's an embarrassment to the judiciary.

Posted by: federalist | Aug 20, 2011 12:55:09 PM

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