« Michigan Supreme Court holds that Gov cannot revoke a valid sentence commutation | Main | "Max Out: The Rise in Prison Inmates Released Without Supervision" »

June 3, 2014

After botching the first attempt, should Ohio be allowed a second chance to execute Romell Broom?

The old saying goes, "If at first you don't succeed, try, try again."  But, as reported in this new AP article, the Ohio Supreme Court is going to considerwhether, after the state was unable to suceed in executing Romell Brown back in 2009, it will be permitted to try again.  The AP article is headlined "Ohio Court to Weigh Repeat Execution Attempt," and here are excerpts:

Ohio's top court has agreed to hear arguments that the country's only survivor of a botched lethal injection would face cruel and unusual punishment and double jeopardy if the state again attempts to put him to death.

Romell Broom, 57, was sentenced to die for the 1984 rape and slaying of 14-year-old Tryna Middleton after abducting her in Cleveland as she walked home from a Friday night football game with two friends.

His 2009 execution was stopped by then-Gov. Ted Strickland after an execution team tried for two hours to find a suitable vein.  Broom has said he was stuck with needles at least 18 times, with pain so intense that he cried and screamed.  An hour into the execution, the Department of Rehabilitation and Correction recruited a part-time prison doctor with no experience or training with executions to try — again, unsuccessfully — to find a vein.

Broom's appeals in federal court are on hold while the state court hears the constitutional arguments.  Broom has been back on death row since.  No new execution date has been set.

In 1947, Louisiana electrocuted 18-year-old Willie Francis by electric chair a year after an improperly prepared electric chair failed to work.  The U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 to allow the second execution to proceed, rejecting double jeopardy arguments.  A state's administration of its criminal law isn't affected by due process rights, when "an accident, with no suggestion of malevolence, prevents the consummation of a sentence," the court ruled at the time.

Broom suffered more than inmates during "a normal execution," meaning a second attempt would punish him twice for the same offense, defense attorneys Tim Sweeney and Adele Shank told the state Supreme Court in a May 2012 filing....  The state argues that Broom never underwent the execution process since the procedure was called off before the drugs could be introduced into his veins. 

For a number of reasons, the precedental force of the split SCOTUS ruling on this issue way back in 1947 is somewhat shaky.  In addition, the Ohio Supreme Court might rely on state constitutional law to block giving Ohio officials another shot at completing Broom's death sentence.   But I suspect the state will argue forcefully that it still can and should be allowed to carry out Broom's imposed sentence.  Stay tuned.

June 3, 2014 at 07:21 PM | Permalink

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d83451574769e201a511c659ba970c

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference After botching the first attempt, should Ohio be allowed a second chance to execute Romell Broom?:

Comments

I haven't read the 1947 opinion but it's an interesting question. India has two separate rules when it comes to DJ. The Indian constitution prevents being punished twice for the same crimes while the right to be free from being tried twice is by statute. In an entomological sense "jeopardy" would seem to only apply to dual trials, not dual punishments--its root is in the concept of a "contest". An execution is not a "contest" in an obvious sense of that word. So my tendency is to think that DJ doesn't apply here. OTOH, I can't say I find the idea that one can be punished for the same crime multiple times appealing. That doesn't sound like the type of thing the Founders would have supported.

Posted by: Daniel | Jun 3, 2014 8:12:29 PM

well doug I think your headline is wrong. based on this!

"His 2009 execution was stopped by then-Gov. Ted Strickland after an execution team tried for two hours to find a suitable vein. Broom has said he was stuck with needles at least 18 times, with pain so intense that he cried and screamed. An hour into the execution, the Department of Rehabilitation and Correction recruited a part-time prison doctor with no experience or training with executions to try — again, unsuccessfully — to find a vein."

based on it. they tried at least twice to kill him in 2009 this would be the 3rd time. Or if you consider each time to pump him full of drugs. 18 with the first set of fuckups and then at least 1 if not more with the part-time prison doctor!" that's 19. that would make this the 20th.

next big question is this "the Department of Rehabilitation and Correction recruited a part-time prison doctor with no experience or training with executions to try — again, unsuccessfully — to find a vein."

so I'm hoping during the first 18 tries they had a licensed trained doctor in executions who couldn't do it. What fuckup would think a non-trained one could? If they were going that route why not just use one of the guards in the room?

Posted by: rodsmith | Jun 8, 2014 2:54:48 PM

Post a comment

In the body of your email, please indicate if you are a professor, student, prosecutor, defense attorney, etc. so I can gain a sense of who is reading my blog. Thank you, DAB