No Second Chances: What to Do After a Botched Execution

Ohio tried and failed to execute Alva Campbell. The state shouldn't get a second chance.
The pathos and problems of America's death penalty were vividly on display yesterday when Ohio tried and failed to execute Alva Campbell. Immediately after its failure Gov. John Kasich set June 5, 2019, as a new execution date.
This plan for a second execution reveals a glaring inadequacy in the legal standards governing botched executions in the United States.
Campbell was tried and sentenced to die for murdering 18-year-old Charles Dials during a carjacking in 1997. After Campbell exhausted his legal appeals, he was denied clemency by the state parole board and the governor.
By the time the state got around to executing Campbell, he was far from the dangerous criminal of 20 years ago. As is the case with many of America's death-row inmates, the passage of time had inflicted its own punishments.
The inmate Ohio strapped onto the gurney was a 69-year-old man afflicted with serious ailm…

Too Old and Too Sick to Execute? No Such Thing in Ohio.

The famous appellate judge Richard Posner once wrote, “A civilized society locks up [criminals] until age makes them harmless, but it does not keep them in prison until they die.” The state of Ohio apparently hasn’t heard of Judge Posner, as they went one step further and tried to execute an elderly Alva Campbell and failed.
Ohio’s lethal injection team spent more than 30 minutes poking Alva Campbell’s decrepit body in search of any decent vein into which they could inject their lethal cocktail to no avail. They finally relented — but only temporarily.
Hours later, Gov. John Kasich announced not a commutation — or a plan to investigate what went wrong — but that Campbell’s execution would be rescheduled for 2019.
It’s a travesty of justice that Ohio’s bungled attempt at executing Alva Campbell was both predictable and avoidable. Campbell’s attorneys had in fact informed the governor and courts that their client’s abysmal health made him a uniquely poor candidate for lethal injection.

Bangladesh: Two hanged in Jessore for murdering freedom fighter in 1994

The authorities in Jessore Central Jail have executed death sentences of 2 for murdering freedom fighter Monwar Hossain 23 years ago.
Senior Superintendent of the jail Kamal Hossain told reporters that the executioners hanged the convicts, Golam Rasul Jhorhu, 75, and Abdul Mokim, 60, at 11:45pm on Thursday.
Both the convicts from Alamdanga Upazila's Durlovpur village in Chuadanga were members of extremist group Purbo Bangla Communist Party.
Kamal said they handed the bodies of the convicts to their families after post-mortem examination.
Jessore Deputy Commissioner Ashraf Uddin, Superintendent of Police Anisur Rahman and Civil Surgeon Dilip Kumar Roy were present during the execution.
Before the execution of the death sentence the imam of the jail mosque administered Tawba of the 2 convicts.
Referring to case dossier, Kamal said some members of the extremist group hacked freedom fighter and Kumari union council member Monwar to death at Durlovpur village on June 28, 1994.

Mauritania broadens death penalty for blasphemy

Showing repentance will no longer prevent the death penalty from being applied for blasphemy and apostasy, Mauritania said on Friday, as the conservative Muslim nation hardens up its religious laws.
The decision follows the release on November 9 of a blogger previously condemned to death for criticising religious justification for discrimination in Mauritanian society.
A new bill will "harden up expected sentences for blasphemers," the government of the west African nation said in a statement released by the official AMI news agency.
"Every Muslim, man or woman, who mocks or insults Mohammed, his angels, books... is liable to face the death penalty, without being asked to repent. They will incur the death penalty even if they repent," Justice Minister Brahim Ould Daddah said, according to the statement.
The decision to free blogger Cheikh Ould Mohamed Ould Mkheitir for time served after his sentence for blasphemy was downgraded from death to 2 years in jail caused…

Nevada refuses Pfizer demand to return drugs state plans to use in execution

Nevada prisons official said Friday the state is refusing pharmaceutical company Pfizer's demand to return a drug it manufactured and not use it in a planned lethal injection execution.
Nevada received a letter Oct. 4 similar to one received by officials in Nebraska and reported by the Omaha World-Herald, Nevada Department of Corrections spokeswoman Brooke Keast said.
The Nevada letter, obtained Friday by The Associated Press, seeks the return from the prisons pharmacy of the sedative diazepam or the opioid painkiller fentanyl made by Pfizer if they are intended for what the company calls "misuse" in an execution.
"Pfizer strongly objects to the use of its products as lethal injections for capital punishment," company executive Robert Jones said in the Oct. 4 correspondence, which promised to reimburse the state for the returned drug.
Pfizer announced in May 2016 it would block distribution of its products and those of its affiliate, Hospira, for executions in…

Experts: Failed execution attempt may cause legal challenges

Ohio's failure to execute a condemned killer with poor veins despite multiple claims by the state that the veins were accessible will lead to new challenges of the state lethal injection process, death penalty experts predict.
Each new problem with executions adds to the question of whether Ohio is violating the constitutional rights of death-row prisoners, Mike Benza, a Case Western Reserve University law professor who has represented death-row inmates, said Thursday.
Front and center is the state's protocol for conducting executions, he said.
"How can you write this, say, 'This is what we're going to do, we've trained our people,' and then they don't do it?" Benza said.
Prisons director Gary Mohr called off Wednesday's execution of Alva Campbell about 25 minutes after several unsuccessful attempts to insert an IV in Campbell's arms and right leg.
"The veins were not good," Mohr said, explaining the decision.
Yet 3 times in 24 …

Governor Kasich says no execution changes needed in Ohio

A day after another failed execution in Ohio, Gov. John Kasich's office says the state's capital-punishment protocol doesn't need to change.
Meanwhile, civil-rights advocates say the latest failure could be used as evidence in future challenges to the constitutionality of Ohio's death-penalty law.
Kasich was forced to grant a reprieve for Alva Campbell on Wednesday when a medical team in the death chamber at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Lucasville determined that it couldn't find 2 suitable veins in his arms or legs to carry out his lethal injection. Campbell, 69, had been strapped to a gurney and poked and prodded for about 30 minutes when the team made the determination.
The failure of the execution appears to be just the 3rd in modern U.S. history - and the 2nd to occur in Ohio during the past decade.
Campbell's ill health presaged a difficult execution. But in 2009, the state also was forced to halt the execution of a younger, healthier man, …

Nevada seeks to use untried execution drugs including opioid

For Nevada's 1st execution in more than a decade, state officials are turning to a never-before-tried combination of drugs, including a powerful painkiller that is fueling much of the opioid epidemic and a paralyzing drug that could mask any signs of trouble.
If the state's highest court approves the plan and it works without complications, the system could offer an alternative execution method to other states seeking hard-to-obtain drugs for lethal injections. But the drugs also carry serious risks, and their use in an execution could invite new shortages of medication used for surgery and pain relief.
"It's an experiment," said Deborah Denno, a law professor and lethal injection expert at Fordham University in New York. "It sounds like a high-risk venture. Even trained people can't claim to know what's going to happen."
None of the drugs - the sedative diazepam, the painkiller fentanyl and the paralytic cisatracurium - has been used in execut…

Pfizer warns Nebraska to return any lethal injection drugs it has manufactured that state may have

A major pharmaceutical company demanded in a letter a month ago that the State of Nebraska return any lethal injection drugs it might have that were manufactured by the company or its affiliate.
Pfizer adopted a policy in 2016 banning the use of its products in an execution as a "misuse" of drugs intended to save lives.
"Pfizer makes its products to enhance and save the lives of the patients we serve. Consistent with these values, Pfizer strongly objects to the use of its products as lethal injections for capital punishment," stated the Oct. 4 letter, signed by Robert Jones, a public relations director at Pfizer.
Officials with the Nebraska Department of Correctional Services and the office of Gov. Pete Ricketts declined to say Thursday if the state had obtained any Pfizer drugs.
 "The state spent $10,500 on the four lethal injection drugs purchased last month."
"We are not disclosing the identity of the supplier at this time," said Corrections…

Wiping the stain of capital punishment clean

On Monday, the Supreme Court will decide whether to hear a case with the potential to end this nation’s abominably long and freakish experimentation with the death penalty. That’s right, drum roll, please. Because, if it grants certiorari in Hidalgo v. Texas – a case Harvard law professor Laurence Tribe describes as emblematic of “the problems with our [country’s] current capital punishment regimes” – America’s broken and vile ‘machinery of death’ can finally be trashed in the junkyard of our dark, wayward humanity. 
Since its reinstatement forty years ago, the death penalty has soiled our justice system and collective moral compass with its racist, arbitrary, and torturous application. Its ignobility and continued existence in the U.S. has not only drawn international opprobrium from human rights activists and religious leaders, it continues to deny us a seat at the table of civilized, just, peaceable people around the world – whose countries long ago rejected capital punishment.