Last Wednesday, as everyone’s heard by now, the State of Ohio announced it was modifying the manner in which lethal injections are administered in this state. No major changes, however, are seen as forthcoming. (Article)
Under the direction of the Governor, following unexpected problems with the execution of Joseph Clark on May 2, 2006, a meeting was convened on May 15, 2006 with representatives from the Ohio Attorney General’s Office, Department of Rehabilitation & Corrections legal staff and Southern Ohio Correctional Facility personnel, to examine and determine what changes or refinements could be made in carrying out future executions. A second meeting was held on June 12th after which a list of five recommendations were returned to Governor Taft.
Among those recommendations, as has been widely reported, is having execution teams now employing a low-pressure saline drip to test whether a vein being used for the lethal injection is open & continues to be viable, as opposed to a high-pressure syringe injection which had been used. Also advised is that it be iterated that there was no requirement to complete an execution within a certain time frame.
“A lot of people want to debate the death penalty,” said Ohio Department of Rehabilitation & Corrections Director Terry Collins. “This wasn’t an issue of the death penalty or the lethal injection process in Ohio. It was about an isolated problem with the application of the death penalty, the statute, and the responsibilities of this department in enforcing the law.”
Relatives of Joseph Clark had an autopsy performed, and an article posted by the Toledo Blade yesterday reported their attorney’s feeling that “important questions were sidestepped by the internal review” and further litigation might be expected.
Also, pending in District Court is a suit by The American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio over how much of an execution should be permitted to be viewed by witnesses. ( Complaint)