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Ohio’s use of Lethal Injection is unconstitutional, says ACLU

Elyria: The ACLU of Ohio is challenging Ohio’s administration of lethal injection as unconstitutional in the Lorain County Court of Common Pleas in Elyria, OH. An evidentiary hearing in the cases was scheduled for Monday, April 7, 2008 and Tuesday, April 8, 2008, with testimony before Judge James Burge.  

The cases are State v. Rivera and State v. McCloud. The ACLU of Ohio represents the defendants in their argument that Ohio’s method of carrying out lethal injections is unconstitutional because it is likely to result in inmates being, in effect, tortured to death.

Lethal injection procedures do not always run smoothly. Ohio has a demonstrated record of incompetence in the administration of lethal injection.  It is likely that many Ohio death row inmates suffer excruciating, torturous pain during executions. That likely pain violates the federal and state constitutions, which forbid cruel and unusual punishment and violate Ohio’s statutory requirement that death be administered “quickly and painlessly.”

Lethal injection is Ohio’s only method of execution, and if it cannot be performed lawfully, then the judge cannot impose the death penalty.  These are the first cases in the nation to address these questions before trial and to have the possibility of precluding the death penalty completely.

This is also the first time an Ohio court will consider expert testimony on how executions are performed in Ohio.





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