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October 6 2009 | UNITED STATES

USA

Ohio: after Broom's case, two executions postponed. The perspective of a moratorium might open debate on lethal injection all over United States

 
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The New York Times

October 6, 2009

In Aftermath of Failed Execution, Ohio Governor Orders Postponement of 2 Others

By BOB DRIEHAUS

CINCINNATI — In continuing fallout from a failed execution last month, Gov. Ted Strickland on Monday postponed two other executions to give corrections officials more time to revise lethal injection procedures.

The announcement came just hours after a federal appeals court indefinitely delayed one of those executions, which had been scheduled for Thursday, because of similar concerns about procedures.

The state is looking into backup procedures in case the standard execution techniques fail, as they did on Sept. 15, when technicians at the state prison in Lucasville tried for over two hours to maintain an intravenous connection in order to inject Romell Broom with lethal drugs for the abduction, rape and murder of a teenage girl in 1984. A hearing to consider whether Mr. Broom can be executed in conformity with constitutional requirements is scheduled for Nov. 30.

“More research and evaluation of backup or alternative procedures is necessary before one or more can be selected,” Mr. Strickland said in his order.

The state expects to have backup procedures in place in time to execute another inmate, Kenneth Biros, on Dec. 8, he said.

A federal appeals court panel in Cincinnati voted 2 to 1 on Monday morning to delay the execution of Lawrence R. Reynolds Jr., 43, who was convicted of the 1994 killing of a woman in the Cleveland area.

The Ohio Supreme Court rejected a similar appeal last week, but the majority on the panel of United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit said the failed execution of Mr. Broom, coupled with the troubled executions of two other inmates since 2006, raised important questions about Ohio’s protocols and its ability to carry them out effectively.

Richard Cordray, the state attorney general, appealed to the United States Supreme Court on Monday to overturn the stay, arguing that it undercut Ohio’s authority to respond to problems with executions.

“The panel majority’s issuance of a stay to Reynolds, based merely on the possibility that ‘something could go wrong,’ in accessing his veins, effectively amounts to a judicially imposed moratorium on Ohio’s death penalty,” the appeal said.

In a statement issued late Monday, Mr. Cordray said the appeal would continue despite the governor’s decision to postpone the executions.

Mr. Reynolds’s execution was rescheduled for March 9, 2010. The execution of Darryl Durr was postponed to April 20, 2010, from Nov. 10. He was convicted of the kidnap, rape and murder of a 16-year-old girl in 1988.

Douglas A. Berman, an Ohio State University law professor and death penalty expert, agreed that the appellate ruling amounted to a moratorium, which compelled the state to appeal.

“The stakes are not just preserving this execution date but whether they can continue to administer the death penalty over the next few months,” Professor Berman said.

 

AFP

L'exécution ratée dans l'Ohio révèle les limites de l'injection mortelle

Par Lucile MALANDAIN

WASHINGTON, 6 oct 2009  - L'exécution ratée mi-septembre de Romell Broom faute de trouver une veine capable de supporter l'injection mortelle, si elle provoque un moratoire dans l'Ohio (nord) pourrait également remettre en cause plus généralement cette méthode de mise à mort.

"Même après cette effroyable exécution ratée, l'Ohio veut continuer à tuer des gens (...), il devrait à tout le moins déclarer un moratoire de manière à être sûr qu'il possède les compétences

techniques pour tuer les gens avec humanité", écrivait samedi le New York Times dans son éditorial.

"Chaque Etat devrait utiliser ce moment de honte pour s'interroger sur la peine capitale", insiste le quotidien.

Le 15 septembre, Romell Broom, 53 ans, a subi pendant deux heures les assauts des trois membres de l'équipe d'exécution de l'Etat qui ont piqué ses bras, ses mains et ses jambes 18 fois. Le directeur de la prison a finalement jeté l'éponge, son équipe

n'ayant pas réussi à isoler une veine susceptible de supporter le cathéter par lequel l'injection mortelle est diffusée.

Romell Broom est alors devenu le premier condamné à mort à survivre à son exécution aux Etats-Unis depuis 1946. Ses avocats ont déposé des recours pour qu'il ne subisse pas deux fois la même épreuve.

Depuis, les deux condamnés qui devaient être mis à mort en octobre et en novembre ont obtenu un sursis, de la justice pour Lawrence Reynolds, 43 ans, du gouverneur démocrate de l'Etat Ted Strickland pour Darryl Durr, 46 ans.
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