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November 12, 2012

Ohio finally gets its execution protocol in order (and praised)

As reported in this local article, headlined "Judge praises execution policies; Ruling that allows next Ohio death to proceed also commends state protocol," the Buckeye state now is getting kudos for its lethal injection administration.  Here is how the article starts:

A federal judge who has skewered Ohio over the way it carries out executions heaped unusually warm praise on the system and the state prisons director in a recent ruling.  The comments by U.S. District Judge Gregory Frost raise the possibility that successful challenges focusing on the process of putting inmates to death in the state could be coming to an end.

Frost has delayed executions over such challenges, though he has also let some proceed when it appeared as if the state had fixed problems.  Frost’s most recent ruling last week declined to stop the execution of Brett Hartman, scheduled to die Tuesday for stabbing an Akron woman to death in 1997.

The ruling doesn’t mean that problems in carrying out executions that might crop up in the future couldn’t spur new challenges.  Though Ohio executions generally go as smoothly as such procedures can, it has had some notable exceptions.  The best-known of those was the botched attempt in 2009 to execute Rommel Broom, whose execution was halted after two hours during which he was jabbed with IV needles 18 times.  Broom is back on Death Row fighting a second attempt to put him to death.

Also looming for the state: the expiration next year of its execution-drug supply. New lawsuits will inevitably follow any attempt to switch to a new drug.

In his ruling last Monday, Frost said prisons director Gary Mohr has created a command system with himself as lead enforcer that finally seems able to stop major changes to the state’s written execution policy. “Mohr in particular warrants credit for demonstrating significant, continuing leadership in this new approach,” Frost wrote.  “More than one witness testified that Mohr’s increased management of the execution process represents a sea change in director involvement.”

At another point, Frost said that everyone at the April 18 execution of Mark Wiles seemed to understand that there can be no deviations from policy, and any potential changes must go up the chain of command to Mohr.  Contrast that with Frost’s comments in July 2011 that stopped the execution of Kenneth Smith: “ It is the policy of the state of Ohio that the state follows its written execution protocol, except when it does not. This is nonsense.”

UPDATE:  Kent at Crime & Consequences provides this link to the latest opinion from Judge Frost in this litigation, and he this commentary:

The opinion is quite long but worth reading for anyone involved in this type of litigation. Frost recounts his earlier criticisms of the state officials, but he hammers the inmate's lawyers as well for playing games.

November 12, 2012 at 10:14 AM | Permalink


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Oh gee, let's see, imperious federal judge gets state officials to kiss his ring, and he's happy. Not surprising.

Posted by: federalist | Nov 12, 2012 11:17:04 AM

hmm let's see who was it that said if Ohio wanted to get the judge out of their hair. Follow the damn written policy?

Wait it was!!!!


Of course the billion dollar question is during the next execution can they manage to follow this new policy or when the clench comes will they still manage to have "x" do it when the new policy says it's "y's" job!

At which point this judge will really be up in their asses!

Posted by: rodsmith | Nov 12, 2012 12:55:10 PM

rod is such a genius--make a judge happy by kowtowing to him . . . . and surprise, he's nice to you.

Posted by: federalist | Nov 12, 2012 2:45:17 PM

Your so funny fed! NOT!

This whole mess is a direct result of the state having a written policy and procedure they are either too lazy or too stupid to follow.

Now they have a New policy. So like i said we will see if they have dumbed it down enough even a fucktard politician can get from "A" to "Z" follwing the lines or if like a typical fucktard politician they will in the clench FUCK IT UP!

At which point since this is the 3 or 4th time in front of this judge over the problem maybe! just Maybe! he will be fed up and jail a few of them with orders they be entered into a remedal reading comprehension class while they are there.

Posted by: rodsmith | Nov 12, 2012 11:22:22 PM


Posted by: anon | Nov 13, 2012 10:09:02 AM

Well it's now nov 18 and this execution was set for nov 13 and nothing has hit the news i'm going to assume they found at least one persion who could both read and follow directions.

Posted by: rodsmith | Nov 18, 2012 11:55:23 AM

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