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Ohio to request rehearing of execution case

Panel kept injunction in place

Ohio-asked-to-suspend-executions

A state employee shows the death chamber at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Lucasville in 2005.

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COLUMBUS — The state of Ohio said Tuesday it will ask the entire U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals to rehear last week’s ruling continuing a preliminary injunction blocking executions.

Attorney General Mike DeWine’s office had the option of directly asking the U.S. Supreme Court to accept the case and could still do so if it is unhappy with the answer from the full Cincinnati-based appeals court.

Last week, a panel of that court voted 2-1 to keep in place a preliminary injunction issued by a U.S. District Court magistrate judge that prevents the state from resuming executions using a new three-drug process.

Unless the injunction is lifted, Ohio will not be able to proceed with its May 10 scheduled lethal injection of Ronald Phillips, convicted in the rape and murder of his Akron girlfriend’s 3-year-old daughter.

After failing to obtain the drugs it would prefer to use because their manufacturers object to their use in executions, Ohio has proposed using midazolam to render the inmate unconscious, rocuronium bromide to shut down breathing, and then potassium chloride to induce cardiac arrest.

The lower court, after reviewing a problematic execution in Ohio in 2014 and others in other states, found that there are sufficient questions as to whether the first drug would prevent the condemned from experiencing unconstitutionally cruel and unusual punishment from the two follow-up drugs.

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