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February 7, 2014

Ohio prison officials now struggling with array of death penalty administration issues

This new Columbus Dispatch article, headlined "Execution legal issues put prisons in quandary," has me really feeling badly for the various well-meaning state government workers in Ohio who now have a unique set of unique challenges in discharging Ohio's capital punishment laws and regulations.  Here are the basics of the latest dynamic chapter in a long-running story of death penalty difficulties:

Ohio prisons officials are faced with unique circumstances in the 15 years since the state reinstated the death penalty, dealing simultaneously with legal issues from a past execution, one scheduled next month and one being held up over organ transplants.  The outcome of each case could be critical to the future of capital punishment in Ohio.

A preliminary staff review of Dennis McGuire’s execution on Jan. 16 concluded that the “process went very well” and found “no reasons for revision of policy for future executions.”  However, the reports by Warden Donald R. Morgan at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility, who observed McGuire’s execution, and Joseph Andrews, a former prisons official now with the Department of Public Safety, are not the final word on the execution, an agency official said.  The final report is pending....

Meanwhile, the organ-transplant controversy, also a first in the U.S., involves inmate Ronald Phillips, 40, whose scheduled execution last Nov. 4 was postponed by Gov. John Kasich to allow time for Phillips to donate nonvital organs to his ailing mother.  Kasich postponed his lethal injection until July 2 to allow time for the complicated surgery.

In the intervening two months, the state has received no documents or requests to proceed. Tim Sweeney, Phillips’ Cleveland lawyer, said the transplant procedure is under discussion, but he declined to elaborate.

Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction officials have informed Phillips about transplant restrictions.  Prisons policy allows a living organ donation only to a member of Phillips’ family, not to someone in the general public.  The family member must be on a list maintained by the United Network for Organ Sharing, the national organization that oversees transplants.  The procedure must be done at Ohio State University’s Wexner Medical Center, where the state has a health-care contract.  Taxpayers would not pay for the surgery.  Phillips would be returned to Death Row after recovering to allow the execution to proceed....

The third contested case involves Gregory Lott, 51, scheduled to be executed on March 16. A hearing opposing use of the same drugs for Lott that were used to kill McGuire will be held in U.S. District Court in Columbus on Feb. 19.

Lott, 51, was convicted and sentenced to death for killing John McGrath, 82, by setting him on fire in his Cleveland-area home in 1986.  McGrath survived in a hospital for 11 days before dying.  Lott came close to execution in 2004, but the U.S. Supreme Court blocked it.

Execution dates have been set for 10 other convicted Ohio killers, extending through January 2016.

February 7, 2014 at 09:28 AM | Permalink

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Comments

The wuss Kasich delayed Gregory Lott's execution.

Posted by: federalist | Feb 7, 2014 9:29:14 PM

Four dead in O Hi O.

Posted by: Liberty1st | Feb 7, 2014 10:16:46 PM


“… concluded that the “process went very well” and found “no reasons for revision of policy for future executions.”

▲ PC for We reserve all rights and deny all wrongs. ▲

Posted by: Just Plain Jim (Just Another Guy) | Feb 8, 2014 6:59:25 AM

“a last-day appeal from Basso's attorney [Winston Cochran Jr.] who argued she was not mentally competent”

▲ PC for We go to absurd extremes to stop punishment of agg. murderers.▲

1. Toledoans to protest execution of convicted baby killer ...
 www.wistv.com/.../22126300/ohio-set-to-execute-man-in-baby-girls-death; http://abclocal.go.com/wls/story?section=news/national_world&id=94217097 7

Posted by: Adamakis | Feb 10, 2014 8:50:37 AM

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