Ohio Execution Halted After First Attempt is Botched

Romell Broom (pictured) was to be executed at 10 AM on Tuesday, September 15, in Ohio. The execution was delayed as the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit considered granting him a hearing. When that temporary stay was lifted, the execution process began again with a searching for a suitable vein in Broom’s arm to insert an IV and to inject the lethal chemicals. However, after two hours of fruitless endeavor, the correctional officers were unable to complete the execution. Governor Ted Strickland intervened and granted a week-long stay of execution while the state evaluates its procedures. Ohio has had a series of problems with its lethal injection process.

(S. Majors, “Ohio execution delayed week after vein troubles,” Associated Press, Sept. 15, 2009). See Botched Executions. This case raises a series of constitutional issues, including whether present standards of decency would reject subjecting a person to repeated attempts at execution, whether the lethal injection process requires medical participation to avoid being cruel and unusual punishment, and whether the process being attempted in Ohio and elsewhere amounts to human experimentation and torture.