Saturday, August 28, 2010

Ohio Seeks to Execute Victim of Botched Execution

Death Row Inmate Challenges States's Second Try

On September 15, 2009, Rommell Broom was escorted to the Ohio death chamber at Lucasville Prison. He was to be executed for the 1994 rape and stabbing death of a 14-year-old Cleveland girl as she walked home from a football game.

Two hours later, Broom walked back out of the death chamber. Governor Ted Strickland halted Broom's execution after the corrections staff tried for two hours to find a suitable vein for injection of the lethal three drug cocktail. Broom said he was stuck with needles at least 18 times, with pain so intense that he cried and screamed.

The botched execution of Broom set in motion a number of unprecedented reforms in Ohio regarding capital punishment. First,the state added a backup method that allows executioners to inject two drugs directly into muscle if a usable vein cannot be found. Secondly, the state adopted a new method of execution switching the IV injection from three drugs to one. The new one drug--Ohio Method--has been adopted by Washington and is being looked at by other states.

The botched execution also opened the door for Broom to challenge the constitutionality of another execution attempt pursuant to the Eighth Amendment's ban against cruel and unusual punishment.

U.S. District Court Judge Gregory Frost denied a motion by the state to dismiss the challenge against another lethal injection attempt on Broom. The Court also found that Broom can continue arguing that he should have access to attorneys during any future execution attempt.

The state opposes Broom's challenge. Ted Hart, a spokesman for the Ohio attorney general's office, told the Associated Press, the judge "simply held that Broom's claim is plausible enough to survive immediate dismissal."

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