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February 11, 2017

Ohio Gov forced to delay scheduled executions yet again due to lethal injection ltigation

As this local article reports, "Gov. John Kasich has delayed eight scheduled executions because of continuing litigation over lethal injection drugs." Here are the details:

The governor used his executive clemency authority to reschedule the executions, beginning with Ronald Phillips who was to be put to death on Wednesday for the 1993 rape and murder of three-year-old Sheila Marie Evans. Phillips will now be executed on May 10, under the revised schedule.

The delays follow the Jan. 26 decision by U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge Craig Merz barred the state's use of a three-drug protocol, declaring it unconstitutional, and blocked the pending execution of Phillips and two other inmates. The state has appealed the ruling to the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

"While Ohio is confident its appeal will ultimately be successful ... the appellate court's scheduling will not allow the matter to be resolved in time to allow the state to move forward with its current execution dates," Kasich's office said in a statement this morning. "Accordingly, these delays are necessary to allow the judicial process to come to a full resolution, and ensure that the state can move forward with the executions."

Merz's lengthy order cited problems with executions in other states with the use of midazolam, one of the three drugs in Ohio's protocol, along with rocuronium bromide and potassium chloride.

Ohio hasn't had an execution since Jan. 16, 2014, when Dennis McGuire choked, gasped and struggled against his restraints for much of the 26 minutes it took for him to die. Midazolam was one of the drugs used to execute McGuire.

The revised schedule after Phillips [includes] Gary Otte, moved to June 13 from March 15 [and] Raymond Tibbetts, moved to July 26 from April 12.

Ever since Ohio announced it had acquired execution drugs and had a new execution protocol in early Fall 2016, I have been expecting and sort-of predicting that Ohio would finally find a way to get its machinery of death back up and running again in 2017. Given some prior Sixth Circuit and Supreme Court rulings, I continue to think Ohio will be able to complete some executions this year. But, of course, lethal injection litigation can be like Forrest Gump's box of chocolates: you never quite know what you are gonna get.

February 11, 2017 at 09:20 AM | Permalink


Not to worry...now you'll have even more time to savor the prospect of resumed official Ohio political killings. There will be no shortage of good times for you in Ohio any time soon.

Posted by: anon | Feb 11, 2017 11:24:25 AM

tinker tinker

Posted by: Joe | Feb 11, 2017 12:03:11 PM

This is what Phillips did:

It took the coroner two hours to count all 125 bruises on Sheila’s body. Because bone can’t expand to make room for blood, the bleeding in her skull was crushing her brain—pushing it out of her skull and into her neck. Blows to the chest caused bleeding around her heart. Dried blood encrusted her skin like sand on a child at the beach.

And we are concerned about cruelty to him?

Posted by: SomeGuy | Feb 12, 2017 12:10:10 AM

Good times for appellate lawyers and judges. This is what sentencing law and policy is really all about. All the controversies, the debates, and the back and forth. All of it. A mask for the rent.

Posted by: David Behar | Feb 12, 2017 11:13:15 AM

The Constitution provides constitutional rights to those who charged with and convicted of crimes. So, yes, we are concerned with mistreating even heinous murderers in part because it is a mark against non-heinous people in charge of them.

Posted by: Joe | Feb 12, 2017 11:31:47 AM

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