Today's Toledo Blade reports, "Ohio's lack of access to lethal drug could force change in executions," It's by Jim Provance. Here's an extended excerpt from the beginning:
Ohio is preparing to possibly overhaul its execution procedure for the third time in four years after its access to a lethal drug at the center of its injection process has been blocked again by its manufacturer.
Barring some way the state can acquire more doses of the powerful sedative pentobarbital, as Texas apparently did at the last minute last week, Ohio will tell a federal court by Friday how it plans to carry out lethal injections.
“There will be controversies with each drug,” said Richard Dieter, executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center. The center does not take a position on capital punishment or the methods used to carry it out.
“Some of these are international companies that want to distance themselves from anything that will result in death,” he said. “They want to make drugs that keep people alive. Even a compounding pharmacy [on-demand drug maker] wants to make clean, pure, reliable drugs that will help you. Although they are not quite as subject to public shaming, they are not in the business of killing people.”
Last week, Ohio was believed to have used the last of its supply of pentobarbital to execute Harry Mitts, Jr., who killed two people, including a Cleveland area police officer, 19 years ago.
But when asked before the execution whether a change in drug is definite for the next execution, Gary Mohr, director of the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, said, “Not necessarily.” He declined to discuss the state’s options.
“We have been talking pretty extensively,” he said. “We are looking at whether we need to change the protocol or not, quite frankly. We anticipate finalizing that in about a week.”
The Cleveland Plain Dealer publishes an Editorial Board roundtable, "Executing prisoners after running out of pentobarbital."
This Editorial Board has long opposed the death penalty. Earlier this month, we reiterated that position given the impending shortage of preferred execution drugs.
Most people think it's fine if prisoners on death row suffer pain and anguish during their executions because of poorly administered drugs, poorly-made drugs, drugs that have never been used to kill a person before, drugs whose efficacy as a dealth penalty drug has never been studied or drugs that just don't work. Such feelings are understandable. Most of the folks on Death Row committed horrific crimes (although not all are guilty, as the Innocence Project as shown.) But for all inmates, there are constitutional protections against cruel and unusual punishment.
Our editorial board members share their thoughts below as the state confronts decision time, and we welcome your input in the comments below.
Earlier coverage of Ohio lethal injection issues begins at the link.