August was a busy month for OTSE and our movement!
In case you missed it, a federal judge extended Ohio’s moratorium on the death penalty throughout the rest of 2014. Following on the heels of that news, an expert witness was submitted an affidavit suggesting Dennis McGuire’s execution in January was not humane and that he very likely experienced “true pain and suffering” before losing consciousness. Then it was announced that the anesthesiologist who had been helping Ohio and other states maintain their lethal injection protocol will no longer do so.
Many of you helped spread these developments on social media, e-mail, and word of mouth; soon, the world was watching how Ohio’s death penalty system seemed to be crumbling under its major shortcomings and embarrassments.
Read on to learn more about the moratorium, the expert testimony, and more news that made headlines in August. Also, keep your eyes peeled for another e-mail from OTSE soon with exciting news about our organization.
PS – A warm welcome to the 100+ individuals who signed up with OTSE at Toledo Pride and other recent events!
In May of this year, U.S. District Judge Gregory L. Frost issued a moratorium on executions in Ohio, in the wake of Dennis McGuire’s troubling January execution. He urged attorneys defending inmates, as well as the state, to “work together to coordinate efforts so that the court can set necessary deadlines following expiration of the stay.” As the expiration neared, Judge Frost found it necessary to extend the moratorium. No new executions will be carried out until after January 15, 2015; this order by the federal judge effectively acts to postpone the executions of Ronald R. Phillip, Raymond Tibbetts, and Gregory Lott which were set to take place later this year.
Following the execution of Dennis McGuire in January, the children of Mr. McGuire filed a lawsuit against the State of Ohio alleging that their father was tortured during the administering of the death penalty. While prison officials claimed “the process worked very well,” an expert witness is now stepping forward with troubling revelations. Dr. Kent Diveley, an anesthesiologist who has attended more than 20,000 patients undergoing anesthetics for a wide range of procedures, laid out the facts that show “to a degree of medical certainty this was not a humane execution.”
The expert witness who has testified in court on behalf of the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections (ODRC) will no longer be defending problematic drug protocols used in executions. A press release in April by ODRC implied the witness– Dr. Mark Dershwitz–played a role in developing the State’s current protocol. Because the American Board of Anesthesiology prohibits its members from participating in lethal injection, the announcement forced the licensed anesthesiologist to step down from his role as expert witness. This development has national repercussions, as Dr. Dershwitz testified for 21 other states besides Ohio.
Ohioans to Stop Executions is preparing to get into high gear as the summer winds down. We're pinning down a few more details now that we're past Labor Day, so watch for special announcement for events in your area, and also check the calendar of events on the OTSE Web Page.