From Nebraska, the Lincoln Journal Star reports, "Court sets March 6 execution date for Michael Ryan." It's by Kevin O'Hanlon.
The Nebraska Supreme Court on Wednesday set a March 6 execution date for Michael Ryan, who was sentenced to death for killing James Thimm during ritualistic torture at a farm near Rulo in 1985.
The order came two days after Attorney General Jon Bruning's office filed documents with the high court saying a challenge by Ryan's lawyer of the state's purchase of a lethal-injection drug is "frivolous, dilatory and irrelevant."
Ryan's attorney, Jerry Soucie of the Nebraska Commission for Public Advocacy, said he was "certainly disappointed in the court not first giving us the opportunity to respond to the AG's filing."
"We had some additional information that we thought was necessary for the court to hear,'' Soucie said, adding that more court action on Ryan's behalf is likely. "My expectation would be that some sort of further action will be filed in a lower court --- probably Richardson County (where the crimes were committed) to address the issues. And then we'll go from there."
In a statement, Bruning said, "In light of today's Nebraska Supreme Court ruling setting the execution date for Mr. Ryan, the state will make all necessary preparations to carry out the sentence."
"Ryan's execution set for March 6," by Joe Duggan in the Omaha World-Herald.
The Nebraska Supreme Court has set a March 6 execution date for cult leader Michael Ryan, who is on death row for the sadistic torture and murder of one of his followers.
The high court filed the death warrant Wednesday, ordering Robert Houston, director of the Nebraska Department of Correctional Services, to carry out Ryan's lethal injection. The court also rejected a recent motion that challenged the setting of an execution date.
“In light of today's Nebraska Supreme Court ruling setting the execution date for Mr. Ryan, the state will make all necessary preparations to carry out the sentence,” Attorney General Jon Bruning said in a statement.
Nebraska hasn't executed a condemned inmate since Robert Williams died in the electric chair in 1997.
Whether Ryan's execution takes place March 6 remains to be seen, said his lawyer, Jerry Soucie with the Nebraska Commission on Public Advocacy.
Soucie said he intends to file a motion in Richardson County District Court, challenging one of the drugs the state must use in lethal injection.
The attorney general also is working to carry out the execution of Carey Dean Moore, convicted of killing two Omaha cab drivers in 1979. Moore has raised a challenge, related to how the state acquired the death drug, which is pending in Douglas County District Court.
Earlier coverage of the Nebraska lethal injection challenge begins at the link.
There is also additional coverage today of the Ohio federal district court ruling yesterday, halting a scheduled execution. "Trumbull officials to appeal ruling in Lorraine execution delay," is the Youngstown Vindicator report by Marc Kovac.
State officials said they would appeal a ruling by a federal judge to delay next week’s execution of Charles Lorraine.
The judge ruled prison officials again failed to meet their own lethal-injection protocols.
In a scathing decision Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Gregory Frost said the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction did not follow its own written procedures for putting inmates to death, even after promising the court that it would.
“Ohio has unnecessarily and inexplicably created easily avoidable problems that force this court to once again stay an execution,” Judge Frost wrote. He added, “In other words, if Ohio would only do what it says it will do, everyone involved in this case can finally move on.”
The stay came one day after Gov. John Kasich rejected clemency for Lorraine, convicted in the brutal knife killings of an elderly Warren couple more than 25 years ago.
He’s supposed to be executed Wednesday.
The attorney general’s office will appeal Judge Frost’s decision to the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and, depending on the decision, the U.S. Supreme Court.
"Ohio lambasted for breaking own protocol on lethal injections," is Alan Johnson's updated report in today's Columbus Dispatch.
“Do not lie to the court, do not fail to do what you tell this court you must do, and do not place the court in the position of being required to change course in this litigation after every hearing,” Frost wrote. “It should not be so hard for Ohio to follow procedures that the state itself created. Today’s adverse decision ... is again a curiously if not inexplicably self-inflicted wound.”
It is unclear whether Frost’s withering criticism will have an impact beyond stopping the execution of Lorraine, 45, who was to be put to death on Wednesday for murdering 80-year-old, bedridden Doris Montgomery and her 77-year-old husband, Raymond, in 1986.
Attorney General Mike DeWine will appeal Frost’s decision to the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
Allen L. Bohnert, an assistant federal public defender who represents Lorraine, released a statement calling on Gov. John Kasich to issue a moratorium in light of “federal constitutional problems.”
“We ask that Gov. Kasich issue a moratorium on executions in Ohio until such time as the state is able to adequately assure, not only Judge Frost, but the citizens of the State of Ohio, that it is able to comply with the U.S. Constitution and its own rules for executing its citizens.”
Kasich’s office referred questions to the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction. On Tuesday, Kasich refused clemency for Lorraine, concurring with the 8-0 recommendation of the Ohio Parole Board.
Frost raised serious questions about Ohio’s lethal-injection protocol that delayed executions for several months last year. The state responded by submitting a detailed protocol list to the court that included specifics on all aspects of the execution, from the condemned inmate’s arrival at the prison through the execution and removal of the body.
Reuters posts, "Judge delays Ohio execution, criticizes process," by David Bailey. It's via the Chicago Tribune.
In November, Frost backed new Ohio death penalty practices adopted to alleviate concerns over the inconsistent application of its procedures and allowed the state to execute Reginald Brooks, 66, who had killed his sons.
Frost said on Wednesday, however, that Ohio had ignored parts of its own procedures in the Brooks execution and could not proceed to execute Lorraine under its current approach.
A review of the Brooks execution found deviations from set procedures in announcing each drug as it was injected, in documenting the drugs used by name, expiration date and lot, and in reviewing Brooks' medical chart before his execution.
"Ohio has been in a dubious cycle of defending often indefensible conduct, subsequently reforming its protocol when called on that conduct, and then failing to follow through on its own reforms," Frost wrote.
Ohio executed five men in 2011, according to the Death Penalty Information Center, and Lorraine's was to be the first execution in Ohio this year.
Earlier lethal injection coverage from Ohio begins at the link.