Thursday, February 9, 2012

Supreme Court Halts Ohio Execution

The Supreme Court, without comment, refused to allow the State of Ohio to proceed with the scheduled execution of Charles Lorraine.  The Supreme Court's decision calls into question a dozen Ohio executions scheduled over the next two years.  The Supreme Court's decision allows a temporary delay in capital punishment in Ohio to stay in place.  The death penalty system in Ohio remains constitutional but they are unable to carry it out because of issues concerning how they carry out executions.  There are concerns that the State of Ohio continues to deviate too often from its written rules on how to carry out lethal injections.  In January, the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that federal courts must monitor every Ohio execution "because the State cannot be trusted to fulfill its otherwise lawful duty to execute inmates sentenced to death."  Wednesday's decision by the Supreme Court affirms a decision by U.S. District Court Judge Gregory Frost that criticized Ohio for failing to adhere strictly to its policies.  During an execution last fall, he criticized Ohio for switching the official responsible for announcing the start and finish times of the execution and for not properly documenting that the inmates medical chart was reviewed.  Lorraine was convicted of murdering an elderly couple of stabbing them repeatedly and then burglarizing their house in 1986.  The State of Ohio has delayed the execution of another inmate scheduled for September 22 who has been convicted of an arson.  It is likely that other inmates awaiting execution will also ask for delays until this issue is resolved.

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