Ohio’s lethal injection process is unconstitutional because it could cause pain and the state mandates that an inmate’s death be painless, Judge James Burge in Lorain ruled yesterday, reports the Cleveland Plain Dealer. He ordered the state to stop using the drugs that paralyze muscles and stop the heart and simply administer a lethal dose of an anesthetic. The U.S. Supreme Court in April upheld Kentucky’s lethal-injection process, which is similar to Ohio’s and that in 34 other states.
Burge ruled in the cases of Ruben Rivera and Ronald McCloud, who are charged with aggravated murder. The Plain Dealer said it was the first time in the U.S. that the lethal injection issue was reviewed before a trial. The Ohio attorney general’s office, the department of corrections and the Lorain County prosecutor’s office are reviewing the decision. “This is a very fact specific determination and quite frankly not anything anyone has seen,” said Prosecutor Dennis Will.