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Ohio to adopt single-drug lethal injection protocol

[JURIST] Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction [official website] director Terry Collins announced [press release] Friday that the state would adopt a single-drug lethal injection protocol, replacing its current three-drug method. The state undertook a review of its lethal injection practices in September after the planed execution of inmate Romell Broom failed [JURIST reports] when a suitable vein for the drugs' administration could not be found. The new protocol will consist of the intravenous injection of a single anesthetic, and will provide for the intramuscular injection of two other drugs if an appropriate vein cannot be found. Commentators on the change have said that the new protocol may be more humane [Columbus Dispatch report], but that it has not yet been used on humans. Ohio is the first state to adopt such a method.

Earlier this month, the Ohio Supreme Court [official website] set dates [announcement, PDF; JURIST report] for the lethal injection executions of two other inmates. The state's current protocol had been used since June when the state added a requirement [JURIST report] that officials shake and call out to the prisoner after the administration of the first of the three drugs. 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.

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