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November 18, 2017

Reviewing Ohio's unique execution difficulties ... which perhaps explains seemingly ho-hum reaction to latest botched Ohio execution

As detailed in this DPIC listing, this past week, there were scheduled executions in Nevada, Ohio and Texas, but two of these planned lethal injections were stayed.  And in Ohio, as first reported here, Ohio tried but failed to complete the lethal injection of a double murderers.  Only thrice in recent US history has the execution process been started and then halted with the condemned inmate living on, and two of those cases have taken place in the last decade in Ohio.  Moreover, as reviewed in this recent ACLU posting, Ohio has an extraordinary recent history with troubled executions (links from the original):  

Ohio’s lethal injection team spent more than 30 minutes poking Alva Campbell’s decrepit body in search of any decent vein into which they could inject their lethal cocktail to no avail. They finally relented — but only temporarily.  Hours later, Gov. John Kasich announced not a commutation — or a plan to investigate what went wrong — but that Campbell’s execution would be rescheduled for 2019....

It was predictable and avoidable not only because of information furnished to the state by the defense, but because Ohio had already committed a similar bungle in 2009 when it failed to find a suitable vein to execute Rommell Broom after sticking him with needles for over two hours.

The ability to find a suitable vein is basic to lethal injection. When it cannot be done — because of lack of training and qualifications of the lethal-injection team or the health of the prisoner — the process becomes impossible and the risk of a failure or botch undeniable.

The botched two-hour execution of Christopher Newton in 2007 also stemmed from the execution team’s inability to access a suitable vein. The state’s botched execution of Dennis McGuire in 2014 has been attributed to the use of midazolam — great if you need a sedative for a medical procedure but unsuitable for executions.

The takeaway should be clear. Ohio cannot be trusted to use the death penalty, as time and time again the state fails and causes needless pain and unconstitutional torture. But Ohio is forging ahead.  The state’s schedule of more than two dozen lethal-injections through 2022 gives Ohio the dubious distinction of maintaining the longest list of upcoming executions in the nation. A second attempt to take Campbell’s life is now set for 2019, while Rommell Broom’s new date is in 2020. Last year, a divided Ohio Supreme Court ruled that Ohio could attempt to execute Broom, yet again....

Because I know and have respect for lots of folks involved in Ohio's criminal justice system, I am somewhat amazed and greatly troubled that Ohio has a uniquely disconcerting recent record in the carrying out of executions. At the same time, I have this week also been somewhat intrigued that Ohio's latest botched execution has not received all that much attention in Ohio or nationwide.

As highlighted via this post and this one, when Oklahoma had an ugly execution in 2014, it engendered lots of national attention and commentary and calls for a national moratorium on executions.  Of course, that ugly execution was arguably more grotesque that what happened this past week in Ohio, and surely death penalty abolitionists figured in 2014 they had more national leaders who were sympathetic to their capital punishment criticisms.  Still, I think it is notable and telling that the reaction to Ohio's latest execution difficulties is relatively "ho-hum."

Recent prior related posts:

November 18, 2017 at 03:46 PM | Permalink


The remedies are self evident, except to the lawyer. The lawyer belongs to the stupidest group of people in our nation.

1) EMS training and experience for executioners.

2) Switch to carfentanyl. Buy it on the internet for a few dollars.

3) Or, for once, get smart, lawyer moron. End the death penalty. Adopt the Italian Death Penalty, where the evil murderer gets stabbed with shanks made of sharpened tooth brushes, multiple times, dies slowly and painfully. Reward the executioners with a carton of cigarettes.

Posted by: David Behar | Nov 18, 2017 5:43:24 PM

The other person dying might have mattered a tad.

Posted by: Joe | Nov 18, 2017 6:13:20 PM

"As detailed in this DPIC listing, this past week, there were scheduled executions in Nevada, Ohio and Texas, but two of these planned lethal injections were stayed."

14 NV Scott Raymond Dozier — STAYED
15 OH Robert Van Hook — RESCHEDULED
16 TX Larry Swearingen — STAYED

Posted by: Joe | Nov 18, 2017 6:16:58 PM

The Van Hook date was rescheduled long ago, Joe, and I am not sure why DPIC has it and other Ohio dates long ago reset on its serious execution list still.

Posted by: Doug B | Nov 18, 2017 9:38:39 PM

David Behar is an idiot.

Posted by: Claudio Giusti | Nov 19, 2017 4:53:44 PM

Claudio Giusti. What does your last name mean? Are you Hebraic? There is a Talmudic flavor to your commentary.

I find you brilliant. You have solved the dilemma of the American Death Penalty. I predict that in 10 years, the dimwit US lawyer profession will finally realize that.

Posted by: David Behar | Nov 19, 2017 10:55:35 PM

"ho-hum" - You still don't get it Doug. Those of us who have seen so many botched executions like this over so many years now are sick, physically sick sometimes, to know of the torture inflicted on other human beings in the name of "justice". It is an act of deep cowardice and inhumanity. Why don't more people voice similar feelings afresh? Because the act is so shameful they want to block it out. They do not want to taint themselves in that shame by association with even the discussion - and therefore look the other way which is so much more comfortable for them. It is always someone else's problem. Only when those directly in a position to end or influence the end of this nightmare chose to stand up and be counted can abolition finally be achieved in a State or across America. It can happen, as we have thankfully seen over the past decade. It is time it happened in Ohio and like it or not, you have a significant responsibility to humanity and the people of Ohio to play your part. Being a detached commentator is I know so very much more comfortable. But not very honorable.

Posted by: peter | Nov 20, 2017 4:58:22 AM

Peter. Calm down. There is no torture. There are no botched executions. There is no pain. The people are unconscious the entire time. The IV has infiltrated into the tissue surrounding the vein. The entire dose is still being delivered, just more slowly.

I have proposed that all executioners get EMS training and experience. They may do so on prison pay, at no expense to the health care system. They will learn to find venous access in the very worst of conditions, in people in shock (low blood pressure), hanging upside down from their cars, very ill and dehydrated from cancer and diabetes, after seizures. They may also learn to start central venous lines. This is a line going into the big vein returning to the heart, the vena cava, found below the left shoulder. If you object to their finding it by anatomical landmarks, they may use ultrasound.

The identity as executioners should remain secret, even from their EMS supervisors. That way, low life, ultra-violent, left wing, pro-criminal scum will not harass and retaliate against them. Health licensing boards filled with those low life, left wing, pro-criminal scum should not be able to sanction their licenses, by a statute. If they do, the police should sanction them every time they exceed the speed limit by 1 mph. That policy should cover the low life, left wing pro-criminal judges, who are the very worst of all.

Posted by: David Behar | Nov 20, 2017 10:57:39 AM

Peter. I actually prefer the Italian Death Penalty. Privacy is arranged. The prisoner is stabbed multiple times with shanks made of sharpened toothbrushes, dies a slow, painful, lonely death, screaming for his life. Then the guards say, we cannot find the murderer. Except some guy now has a full carton of cigarettes out of nowhere, and is buying all kinds of favors from other prisoners with it.

Posted by: David Behar | Nov 20, 2017 11:01:28 AM

Mr. Behar, I think you mean to be edgy and bold. But your comments long ago became, well, "ho hum." They all simply repeat the same, old, uninteresting hysteria: "lawyers are stupid," "judges should be killed," "the Italian death penalty," et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. You're just boring.

Posted by: Publius | Nov 20, 2017 1:27:31 PM

DB is a nazist.

Posted by: Claudio Giusti | Nov 20, 2017 2:42:11 PM

Publius. They are repetitive because thy are replies to the false propaganda of this left wing pro-criminal lawyer profession. That is really tiresome.

Here is something that is really unbearably tiresome, the 30 million repetitive crimes you assholes allow a year. Over and over, and you assholes do nothing about it.

Posted by: David Behar | Nov 20, 2017 3:08:08 PM

Yet, having concluded that the writer and readers of this blog are "assholes" who plainly pay no serious attention to you, you nonetheless continue your repetitive ranting. Seems rather sad.

Posted by: Publius | Nov 20, 2017 3:24:19 PM

Publius. You are too stupid to know how stupid you are. I cannot control that.

You do not criticize the repetitive nature of the posts. Crime is low. Decarcerate. More mitigating factor are needed. Every fucking day, these lawyer lies.

That means your criticism is partisan, not really about repetitiveness.

Posted by: David Behar | Nov 20, 2017 4:27:53 PM

Actually, I know just how stupid I am, but that is beside the point. The issue is whether your comments add anything to the discussion or simply represent unhelpful hyperventilating to an audience that has made clear it has no interest in your thoughts. I may indeed be stupid, but at least I don't post comments day in and day out that readers find bitter, bizarre and uninteresting. Speaking of which, this dialogue has grown tiresome, so I'm off to do some stupid, asshole thing as is my wont.

Posted by: Publius | Nov 20, 2017 4:39:59 PM

Publius. Here is the problem. Your stupidity and the stupid shit you do hurts millions of violent crime victims. It kills $trillions in economic value a year. So your stupid profession must be controlled better.

Posted by: David Behar | Nov 20, 2017 4:48:30 PM

Anything not worth doing is not worth doing well.

Posted by: G. B. Robinson | Nov 21, 2017 4:27:05 AM

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