Federal District Judge Gregory Frost's Order in In Re: Ohio Execution Protocol Litigation is available in Adobe .pdf format.
"Judges orders temporary halt to Ohio executions," is by Andrew Welsh-Huggins of Associated Press, via the Morning Journal.
Ohio executions have been put on hold for 2 1/2 months after a federal judge said he wanted to hear arguments over the state's new lethal injection procedures.
The temporary order delays executions scheduled for July and August while attorneys prepare filings about the state's decision to boost the dosages of its lethal injection drugs.
The one-page order by Columbus federal judge Gregory Frost on Tuesday affects the state's latest death penalty policy change, which was announced in late April. Ohio uses two drugs injected simultaneously in executions. The policy change considerably increases the amount of the sedative and raises the amount of the painkiller.
The procedure update followed the Jan. 16 execution of Dennis McGuire, who repeatedly gasped during the record 26 minutes it took him to die.
"Judge orders temporary moratorium on Ohio executions," is by Alan Johnson of the Columbus Dispatch.
The order issued yesterday by U.S. District Judge Gregory L. Frost stops the scheduled July 2 execution of Ronald Phillips of Summit County and the Aug. 6 execution of William Montgomery of Lucas County. Two other executions scheduled later in the year are not affected for the time being, but Frost left his order open-ended.
Frost said an execution can be scheduled no earlier than Aug. 15.
The delays are repercussions from the troubled execution of Dennis McGuire on Jan. 16. Witnesses observed that McGuire, 53, gasped, choked, clenched his fists and appeared to struggle against his restraints for 10 minutes after the administration of two drugs, midazolam and hydromorphone, before being pronounced dead at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility near Lucasville.
As a result, the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction announced April 28 that it would use the same drugs, but in higher doses in future executions. The dosage of midazolam, a sedative, will be boosted to 50 milligrams from 10 milligrams, and the dosage of hydromorphone, a powerful painkiller, will be increased to 50 milligrams from 40 milligrams. In addition, the revised policy calls for having a third syringe ready containing 60 milligrams of hydromorphone; other syringes will be prepared and available “if needed.”
The Cleveland Plain Dealer posts, "Federal judge orders moratorium on Ohio executions until protocol of lethally injected drugs can be fixed," by James F. McCarty.
Lisa Hackley, a spokeswoman for Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, issued a brief statement in response to Frost's ruling: "We will follow the court's order."
The order puts on hold the scheduled July 2 execution of Ronald Phillips of Akron, who was sentenced to death for the 1993 fatal rape and beating death of a 3-year-old girl. The Aug. 6 execution of William Montgomery of Lucas County was also continued to a later date.
In the meantime, Frost ordered the opposing sides in the issue to "work together to coordinate efforts" in preparation for the expiration of the moratorium.
Earlier coverage from Ohio begins at the link. You can also jump to coverage of Dennis McGuire's botched execution and its aftermath.