Two Ohio executions have been put on hold after a federal judge says he needs more information about the state’s proposed changes to its lethal injection process.
A scarcity of the drugs that were once commonly used to carry out U.S. executions has complicated the death by lethal injection process – and has prompted several death-row inmates to challenge whether Ohio and other states are violating the Constitution’s protections against cruel and unusual punishment per WPR.org.
Karen Kasler from Ohio Public Radio reports:
“U.S. District Judge Gregory Frost’s order for a 2-1/2 month moratorium comes after the troubled execution of Dennis McGuire in January. McGuire was the first person ever to be put to death with a combination of the sedative midazolam and the painkiller hydromorphone.”
Just last month, Ohio said it would increase the dosage of the drugs used in their executions.
Another state that is looking to change their policies is Tennessee, where the governor recently approved the use of the electric chair should lethal injection drugs not be available.
Judge Frost’s order “stops the scheduled July 2 execution of Ronald Phillips of Summit County and the Aug. 6 execution of William Montgomery of Lucas County,” The Columbus Dispatch reports. “Two other executions scheduled later in the year are not affected for the time being, but Frost left his order open-ended.”
Phillips was sentenced to die for the rape and death of his girlfriend’s 3-year-old daughter, Sheila Marie Evans, in Akron in 1993. Montgomery shot 20-year-old Debra Ogle and her 19-year-old roommate Cynthia Tincher in 1986.
The order to temporarily halt Ohio executions has been put in place until Aug. 15, allowing attorneys to prepare filings about the state’s decision to boost the dosages of its lethal injection drugs.
The state said in April it was making changes to the drug “to allay any remaining concerns” after McGuire’s controversial execution, though it stood by the way he was put to death.
2 Ohio Executions On Hold Amid Drug Controversy