[JURIST] Ohio Governor Ted Strickland [official website] on Monday issued a temporary reprieve [press release] of two scheduled executions in order to give officials an opportunity to review the lethal injection procedures employed by the state. The reprieve comes after an unsuccessful lethal injection attempt last month resulted in corrections officials trying for two hours to find a vein in which to administer the injection to condemned murder Romell Broom. Strickland issued a temporary reprieve for Lawrence Reynolds, scheduled to be executed October 8, and for Darryl Durr, scheduled to be executed November 10. In the warrants of reprieve, Strickland explained:
The circumstances faced by the Department on September 15 were truly extraordinary, and Department personnel acted with dignity and professionalism in attempting to fulfill their legally mandated obligations. Furthermore, it is highly unlikely that the assigned Department personnel would ever face such a situation again. Nonetheless, and although not legally or constitutionally required to do so, since September 15, the Department has been working to establish a back-up or alternative lethal injection protocol that would be available should those responsible for carrying out executions for the State ever again be unable to access a sustainable vein at the time of an execution.Also Monday, the US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit issued a stay of execution [opinion, PDF] for Reynolds, ruling that Ohio's legal injection protocol should be reviewed. Strickland said he expects the review to be completed before the next execution, scheduled for December 8, but that he would issue additional reprieves if necessary.
After the unsuccessful attempt to execute Brown, the US District Court for the Southern District of Ohio delayed his execution [JURIST report]. In July, Ohio conducted the 1000th execution [JURIST report] by lethal injection in the US since the death penalty was reinstated in the 1976 case Gregg v. Georgia [opinion text]. In June, Ohio first used its new lethal injection method [JURIST report], called "set-to-die." The procedure requires officials to shake and call out to the prisoner after a sedative has been administered, and a second dose can then be given, if necessary. A de facto national moratorium [JURIST report] on the death penalty ended last year when the US Supreme Court ruled in Baze v. Rees [JURIST report] that the three-drug lethal injection sequence [DPIC backgrounder] used in most states does not violate the Constitution.