This morning's Columbus Dispatch reports, "Ruling halts Ohio executions." It's by Alan Johnson.
Ohio executions are on hold while state prison officials adjust lethal-injection procedures that a federal judge termed haphazard.
Attorney General Mike DeWine's decision not to appeal U.S. District Judge Gregory L. Frost's order means an indefinite postponement of the execution of killer Kenneth Smith of Hamilton, in southwestern Ohio, which had been scheduled for Tuesday.
The long-range effect might include delays in some of the nine other executions scheduled through September 2012.
DeWine told The Dispatch yesterday that, while he "respectfully disagrees" with Frost's ruling, "the state is going to take that decision and follow it and make revisions and comply with it.
Frost halted the execution in a decision issued last week. He wrote, "Ohio pays lip service to standards it then often ignores without valid reasons, sometimes with no physical ramifications and sometimes with what have been described as messy if not botched executions."
In a statement, prisons spokesman Carlo LoParo said, "Those involved in implementing court-ordered lethal injection sentences in Ohio have consistently carried out this extremely difficult task in a dignified, professional and humane manner. We will use Judge Frost's decision as an opportunity to improve our procedures and practices in preparation for carrying out future lethal injection sentences."
He said the agency "believes its implementation of court-ordered lethal-injection sentences does not violate the constitutional rights of condemned prisoners."
Ohio Public Defender Tim Young said his office has been concerned with lethal-injection protocol for some time.
"There's a history in Ohio of the procedures either failing or not being followed. You've had two executions that went badly and one that failed in Rommel Broom. It's their own protocol that they've written, and they haven't followed it very often, if at all."
The AP filing is, "State will not appeal judge's delay of execution," by JoAnne Viviano. It's via the Coshocton Tribune.
Ohio won't challenge a court-ordered delay of a convicted murderer's lethal injection, likely opening the way for the inmate to argue the state violates the U.S. Constitution with uneven application of its execution rules.
Attorney general's spokesman Dan Tierney said Wednesday the office will not appeal the temporary restraining order granted Kenneth Smith by U.S. District Court Judge Gregory Frost. Smith had been scheduled to die next week for the slaying of a husband and wife in their Hamilton home during a 1995 robbery.
Smith and other inmates argue that Ohio often strays from execution policies by not always having the required number of execution team members and not always documenting mixing the drugs.
Frost on Friday agreed, calling four areas where the state strayed from its policies an embarrassment that created a "haphazard application" of its death penalty protocols.
Earlier coverage of the Ohio lethal injection challenge begins at the link.