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October 12, 2009

How will Ohio's lethal injection review impact other state execution protocols?

The question in the title of this post is prompted by this new piece in the Washington Post, which is headlined "Execution Methods Examined: Ohio's Review After Botched Injection May Have Wide Impact." The piece mainly reviews the basic facts surrounding Ohio's failed execution attempt last month and the subsequent delay of other scheduled Ohio executions.  But the piece also speculates that what happens in Ohio could have ripples elsewhere:

[Ohio Governor Ted] Strickland's decision to delay two more executions and review the way Ohio has executed 32 prisoners since 1999 could influence the way condemned prisoners elsewhere are put to death, according to experts on the death penalty.

"Everything's on the table at this point," said Julie Walburn, spokeswoman for the Ohio corrections department, which has overseen two similar situations since 2006.  In the other cases, technicians eventually found veins, and the prisoners were executed.

Walburn said the Strickland administration is all but certain to revise its protocols to deal with cases like Broom's.  State officials are also analyzing the effectiveness of the existing three-drug combination and other ways to kill a person with a lethal injection.  "We are taking a very studied approach.  This is a complex issue, and we are certainly not going to rush our examination," Walburn said, explaining that Strickland is prepared to delay the scheduled Dec. 8 execution of Kenneth Biros if the new rules are not ready.

"Other states will be watching," said Richard Dieter, executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center, who reported that several states, including Maryland, are working on lethal injection protocols....

Ohio's "troubling difficulties" in executing Broom and two other inmates, as the 6th Circuit put it, have not led any other governors to delay executions.  When Alabama executed Max Payne on Thursday, he became by Dieter's count the 40th person in the United States to die by lethal injection this year.

Though lots might be said about the Post story, my first reaction to Julie Walburn's comments is to suspect it may now be a realllllllllly loooong time before Ohio gets around to executing a condemned prison again.  Indeed, I am now thinking there is a decent chance Ohio will not attempt another execution until deep into 2010 and maybe not even then.

Some new and old related posts on Ohio developments and other lethal injection issues:

October 12, 2009 at 01:57 PM | Permalink


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The article suffers from a bit of schizophrenia. What's the issue? The chemical veil? Or the "torture" from having needles stuck in you?

Posted by: federalist | Oct 12, 2009 2:55:52 PM

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