The Ohio Supreme Court has ruled on Broom's challenge to his botched execution attempt. The AP report is, "Botched execution survivor stays on Ohio death row," by Andrew Welsh-Huggins. It's via the Washington Post.
The only inmate in modern history to survive an execution attempt must stay on death row, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled Thursday in a decision that leaves the man's fate up to the federal courts.
In a separate ruling, the court also determined that Ohio law doesn't allow a constitutional challenge of lethal injection.
Romell Broom's execution last year was stopped by Gov. Ted Strickland after an execution team tried for two hours to find a suitable vein. Broom has said he was stuck with needles at least 18 times, with pain so intense that he cried and screamed.
The court's decision on the constitutionality of lethal injection answered a question about state law that had been posed by a federal judge. The federal courts have already settled the constitutionality of lethal injection in Ohio in their own rulings on the state's new execution method, which involved one dose of a fatal drug and a backup procedure if needed.
Lawyers for death row inmates say the state still has problems accessing inmates' veins, which can cause severe pain. They also say the state doesn't adequately train its executioners.
In Broom's case, his attorneys argued that no attempt to execute him could be done without violating his constitutional rights prohibiting double jeopardy.
"His death sentence may no longer be carried out by any means or methods without violating the constitutional rights identified herein and he must be removed from death row and placed in the Ohio prison system's general population," his attorneys said in a September court filing.
The argument, rejected by the state Supreme Court on Thursday without comment, is similar to Broom's case pending in federal courts.
Alan Johnson writes, "Ohio Supreme Court: Condemned may not challenge lethal-injection method of execution," for the Columbus Dispatch.
There is no basis under Ohio law to challenge the lethal injection method of execution, a divided Ohio Supreme Court ruled today.
In a 5-2 decision, the court said the General Assembly "has not yet provided an Ohio law cause of action for Ohio courts to process challenges to a lethal-injection protocol."
However, there are "several established methods for an Ohio death penalty defendant to receive state review of his or her case," the court said.
The question was referred to the court from a federal judge in a suit filed by Michael Dean Scott, a Stark County man sentenced to death for killing two men in 1999.
Outgoing Chief Justice Eric Brown filed a strong dissenting opinion, arguing that it is "unthinkable that there could be no judicial forum in Ohio" to challenge lethal injection. Justice Paul E. Pfeifer, the court's senior member, also dissented.
"Cases such as this," Brown said, "are the measuring stick of our civilization, in which we stake the boundaries of our government's obligation to protect the weakest, the least popular, and the worst of its members."
He said the majority on the court "abdicates this court's responsibility to federal courts" by refusing to settle the matter.
In another death penalty case, the court rejected a suit filed by attorneys representing convicted killer Romell Broom that be removed from Death Row because the state tried unsuccessfully to execute him 15 months ago.
Without comment, the court unanimously turned down the request by attorneys Timothy F. Sweeney of Cleveland S. Adele Shank of Columbus.
"Ohio Supreme Court split on forum considering whether execution method humane," is by Jim Provance for the Toledo Blade.
The Ohio Supreme Court on Thursday ruled that lawmakers have not created a forum to judge whether the way the state’s method of executing inmates is humane, but it split on the question of whether the court should take it upon itself to do so.
Four of the justices in the 5-2 decision wrote their own opinions. The majority found that Ohio law already provides for appeal of a death penalty case and even allows a defendant to petition the court to later reopen his appeals.
“(W)e need not judicially craft a separate method of review under Ohio law,” it said.
But Chief Justice Eric Brown, the only Democrat on the bench, and Justice Paul Pfeifer dissented. In an unusual move, two other justices, Evelyn Lundberg Stratton and Maureen O’Connor, issued their own opinions to criticize the dissents.
Chief Justice Brown was defeated by Justice O’Connor on Nov. 2 in his bid to hold onto the position to which he was appointed by Gov. Ted Strickland last spring after the death of Chief Justice Thomas Moyer. The governor has the option of reappointing him to the bench next month to fill the vacancy that will be created when Justice O’Connor accepts her promotion to chief.
Earlier coverage of Romell Broom's legal battle following the botched execution attempt in 2009, at the links. Shortly after that botched procedure, Ohio altered to its execution protocol to use a single-drug lethal injection, which was used for the first time in December 2009.