How often do you see this?? Today, the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections announced, via an affidavit in federal court, that it has adopted a new lethal injection protocol.? The protocol was necessary after several death row inmates challenged the constitutionality of Ohio’s lethal injection method of executions under the Eighth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution after a few executions were practically botched.? In fact, Governor Strickland issued a temporary reprieve of one inmate, after he spent two hours literally sobbing on the execution table as he unsuccessfully tried to assist the execution team find a suitable vein in which to kill him.? The new protocols actually was warmly received by an attorney from the Ohio Public Defender’s Office, which had been challenging Ohio’s lethal injection method of execution in federal court.
According to the Hamilton Pulse Journal, Ohio will be the only state in the nation to use one drug ,as opposed to a cocktail of three administered separately, in its criminal executions.
Terry Collins, director of the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, said executioners will use a five-gram dose of thiopental sodium, 2.5 times the amount previously used, to cause condemned inmates to go to sleep and stop breathing. The state no longer will use two other drugs, pancuronium bromide and potassium chloride, that paralyzed the muscles and stopped the heart.
If viable veins cannot be found, executioners will use an intramuscular injection of two drugs, midazolam and hydromorphone, which also would put the inmate to sleep and stop respiration.
In reaction, one of the lawyers from the Ohio’s Public Defender’s Office issued qualified praise:
?I?d like to congratulate Ohio on taking a first and major step in correcting problems with the execution protocol,? said Ohio Public Defender Tim Young, whose office represents many death row inmates. ?It?s a major step for Ohio and a major step for painless executions. I would encourage other states to follow Ohio?s lead.?
Young said his only disappointment with the plan is that Collins didn?t place a limit on the time spent or number of attempts made in attempting intravenous injections before switching to the alternate method.
Governor Strickland, who issued the reprieve for condemned murderer and rapist Romell Broom, issued a statement as well:
?The Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction has completed a thorough review of an alternative and backup lethal injection protocol.? I believe the department?s assessment and recommendation for changes to the current lethal injection protocol are reasonable and in accordance with Ohio?s lethal injection law.?
?I would like to thank Director Terry Collins and his staff for their diligent and careful review and for ensuring that Ohio?s capital punishment law will continue to be administered fairly and effectively.?
One of the unanswered questions, though, is whether the State’s intent to try to execute Romell Broom is constitutional.? Last month, I wrote this post at BSB regarding this issue.