A decision by Ohio Gov. John Kasich to postpone all seven scheduled 2015 executions in his state is part of growing evidence suggesting that courts and society are coming to a new showdown over how states administer the ultimate sanction, says the Christian Science Monitor. Kasich's decision comes as Ohio and other death penalty states struggle to finesse a lethal drug cocktail that would consistently end an inmate's life humanely. The postponement was announced three weeks after the state said it would no longer use a controversial drug, midazolam, which was employed in a series of executions that went awry last year.
The decision to delay came a week after the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to weigh whether a lethal injection cocktail using midazolam violates the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment. The court will issue a decision in cases from Oklahoma by the end of June. It came almost exactly a year after Ohio executed Dennis McGuire, who appeared to struggle during a 26-minute execution that was expected to take no more than 10 minutes.