Judge Delays Ohio Execution, Cites “Haphazard Application” of Rules


A federal judge has delayed the execution of a condemned Ohio killer of two, agreeing with the inmate that the state enforces some of its execution policies haphazardly, the Associated Press reports. Kenneth Smith was scheduled to die July 19. Smith and other inmates argued that Ohio too often strays from its execution policies by not always having the required number of execution team members present and not always documenting the mixing of drugs.

Judge Gregory Frost agreed, calling four areas in which the state strayed from its policies an embarrassment and creating what he called “haphazard application” of its death-penalty protocols. Sentencing expert Doug Berman, a law professor at Ohio State University, said Frost’s ruling could halt other executions in Ohio and could be a rallying point for death row inmates nationally. “States are often modifying their execution process ‘on the fly,’ especially as they struggle to find the drugs necessary to conduct lethal injections,” he said.

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