Judge Delays Executions, Rules Ohio's Lethal Injection Drugs Unconstitutional

Jan 26, 2017

Ohio must delay executing death row inmates after a federal judge ruled that its planned combination of drugs is unconstitutional. 

The state planned to carry out its first execution in three years next month using the three-drug mix of Midazolam, a paralytic and potassium chloride.

But a federal judge says that the combination is unconstitutional based on the cruel and unusual punishment clause.

Megan McCracken with the Death Penalty Clinic at U.C. Berkeley says the same mix, when used in previous executions, caused violently struggle and gasp for air.

“It presents significant risks of pain and suffering.”

Executions have been on hold in Ohio ever since 2014 when inmate Dennis McGuire was put to death. He reportedly showed similar complications during his lethal injection, which also used Midazolam.