ACLU Calls on State to Stop Executions Indefinitely

Affiliate: ACLU of Ohio
September 15, 2009 12:00 am

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Third Execution Plagued by Problems in as Many Years Illustrates Need for Immediate Moratorium and Review of Procedures

LUCASVILLE, OH- The American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio called on state officials to immediately put a halt to executions, following the attempted execution of Romell Broom. The procedure was botched after the execution team failed to locate a viable vein after several hours of searching. Late Tuesday afternoon, Governor Strickland delayed Broom’s execution for one week in light of these problems. This follows two other botched executions in Ohio beginning with Joseph L. Clark in May 2006 and Christopher Newton in May 2007. Both of these executions were eventually completed despite officials struggling to find viable veins on the men. ACLU of Ohio Staff Counsel Carrie Davis said, “Governor Strickland must not allow another execution to happen in Ohio. The system used to carry out executions has been shown to be faulty and dangerous. Given these troubling facts, it would be irresponsible to continue the execution only one week later.” In June 2008, the ACLU won a challenge to Ohio’s execution procedures by showing that it was not guaranteed to be quick and painless, as state law requires. The case was before Lorain County Common Please Judge James Burge in the case State v. Rivera. Following the case, the state altered their execution procedures in order to comply with state law. The attempted execution of Romell Broom used the new procedures developed by the state. “Whether under the old procedures or the new procedures, Ohio’s execution system is fundamentally flawed. If the state is going to take a person’s life, they must ensure that it is done as humanely as possible. With three botched executions in as many years, it’s clear that the state must stop and review the system entirely before another person is put to death” Davis added. The ACLU of Ohio previously filed Apanovich v. Wilkinson, which challenged the state’s refusal to allow the public to watch the “intubation phase” of the execution where catheters are inserted into the veins of the condemned. As a result of the case, the state installed closed circuit televisions so the intubation phase of the execution process could be viewed.

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