…on Monday a federal judge in Columbus, Ohio, ruled that McGuire's execution could go ahead. Judge Gregory Frost found that there was insufficient evidence to show a substantial risk of severe pain for the condemned man and said that “Ohio is free to innovate and to evolve its procedures for administering capital punishment.”
An Ohio state prosecutor, addressing the court, said: "You're not entitled to a pain-free execution.”My heart bleeds for him. No, really. But why has this situation arisen in the first place?
Well, because of interference from the anti death penalty squad, of course:
Ohio's use of the new two-drug combination is a move of desperation, one forced by shortages of the anaesthetic pentobarbital that had been relied upon in the three-drug cocktail used for executions by lethal injection all over the US. The approved supplies of pentobarbital in death penalty states across the US have all passed their expiration dates following European restrictions on exportation of the substance and a strict prohibition of sales to prison services imposed in 2011 by the drug's Danish manufacturer Lundbeck.Ah, those unintended consequences again…
And it seems it caused a few problems in Oklahoma, where a convicted murderer being put to death was reported to have felt ‘a burning sensation’.
The sensations of his victim weren’t recorded by the world’s media, strangely enough.
Maya Foa, the acting director of the death penalty team at Reprieve, said her “strong suspicion” was that Oklahoma had used pentobarbital made by a local compounding pharmacy. Further evidence pointing to that likelihood is that an investigation by St Louis Public Radio and the Beacon revealed that Missouri intends to execute one of its death row inmates later this month using pentobarbital compounded in Oklahoma.
“We know from recent history that compounded drugs can be ineffective or contaminated.” Foa said.They don’t seem ‘ineffective’ to me. He’s still dead, isn’t he?
David Waisel, an associate professor of anaesthesia at Harvard medical school, said that last week's execution in Oklahoma might be an example of the possible risks involved in using compounded drugs.
“Whatever you say about the death penalty, the penalty itself is not supposed to be suffering. Society should not seek to add pain, as death is enough,” he said.But ‘society’ isn't involved here, it’s just pressure groups. Pressure groups who calculated that if they made it difficult enough, the states would just give up and commute death sentences to life imprisonment.
They gambled, they lost.
“From the first lethal injection in 1982, to last week's events in Oklahoma, lethal injections have been botched repeatedly over the past 32 years,” said Deborah Denno, a specialist in execution methods who is a law professor at Fordham University. “The lethal injection has never been more unpredictable and more at risk than it is right now.”We can always go back to shooting ‘em…