"Ohio preparing to change execution drugs again," is by Alan Johnson in today's Columbus Dispatch.
Ohio prison officials, forced to revamp the lethal-injection process for the third time since resuming executions in 1999, are sorting out which drug or drug combination is best.
The Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction isn’t talking about it at this point. But officials indicated in a federal court filing on Monday that the switch to a new execution protocol will be announced by Oct. 4 because the supply of the drug currently used, pentobarbital, runs out next month.
Ohio and other states have found it a challenge to find a drug, or drug combination, that kills quickly, painlessly and without complications, that passes legal muster and that is available.
Ohio’s current rules allow for the first-ever intramuscular injection of a lethal dose of drugs. Prison officials tweaked the protocol in March 2011 to allow hydromorphone, an opiate, and midazolam, a sedative, to be injected directly into muscles in the upper arm, thigh or buttocks. The combination has never been tried in the U.S. All 51 executions in Ohio since 1999 have been done intravenously.
Richard Dieter, executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center in Washington, D.C., said he thinks Ohio may lean toward the injection. But he said that could be a questionable choice.
“With intramuscular injections, there can be reactions to it, and it’s unknown how long it takes to get into the system after being injected,” he said. “All of this is unknown.
“Going forward on what’s available rather than what might be the best consensus according to medical experts may not be the best policy.”
AP coverage is, "Ohio: New execution process to be created by October," by Andrew Welsh-Huggins. It's via the Lima News.
Ohio is likely within two months to again change the way it executes prisoners, as drug sources dry up and supplies expire.
The latest change, which would be the third time the state has made a major change related to the drug it uses in lethal injection, is expected no later than Oct. 4, according to a court filing.
The filing does not spell out the new process, and the prisons department declined to comment Thursday.
However, it's unlikely Ohio would switch to a method not involving drugs. The state eliminated the electric chair as an option a decade ago in part out of prison authorities' concerns about the potential stress on those carrying out the execution.
Whatever the approach, it will apply to the November execution of Ronald Phillips, sentenced to die for raping and killing his girlfriend's 3-year-old daughter in Akron in 1993, according to the order filed Monday by federal Judge Gregory Frost.
Frost's order notes that the new process won't be in place for next month's execution of Harry Mitts. The Department of Rehabilitation and Correction raised the likelihood of a plan by Oct. 4 in a recent telephone conference with the judge, according to the order.
The change in the execution process is necessary because supplies of the sedative pentobarbital, the drug Ohio uses for executions, have been put off limits by its manufacturer, and the state's remaining supplies expire at the end of September.
One option floated by Ohio authorities is obtaining the drug from compounding pharmacies, which are licensed to create small batches of drugs for specific patients.
Ohio also has a backup method involving two drugs injected into muscles. That method has never been used.
"Ohio considers new execution method for prisoners," is by Kevin Murphy for Reuters, via the Globe and Mail.
Federal Judge Gregory Frost in Columbus, Ohio, disclosed the state’s intentions in a court filing Monday, although the filing was not reported until Thursday. He did not say how the state would execute death row inmates. Frost said lawyers for the state discussed the issue in a conference call last week.
State lawyers said the new execution method would be in place by no later than Oct. 4, in time for the scheduled execution of Ronald Phillips on Nov. 14. It will not be in place in time for the scheduled execution of Harry Mitts, Jr. on Sept. 25, the judge’s order said.
The Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction did not respond to a Reuters request on Thursday for comment on the filing.
Ohio and other states where capital punishment is legal have reported difficulty finding companies that manufacture pentobarbital. Ohio officials have said the state will run out by the end of September.