The ACLU of Ohio sent a letter to Ohio Governor John Kasich, asking him to use his executive authority to declare an immediate halt to executions in Ohio. The letter comes on the heels of the state’s fourth botched execution in less than ten years.
On January, 16, death row inmate Dennis McGuire was killed using an experimental drug cocktail that had never before been used in a lethal injection. Witnesses say the drugs left him clenching his fists and gasping for air for over 20 minutes before he finally died.
Ohio has five more executions scheduled for 2014, all possibly using the same drug combinations that failed during the McGuire execution, or experimenting with new drugs.
“This is not about Dennis McGuire, his terrible crimes, or the crimes of others who await execution on death row,” reads the letter signed by ACLU of Ohio Executive Director Christine Link and President of the Board of Directors Jack Guttenberg. “It is about our duty as a society that sits in judgment of those who are convicted of crimes to treat them humanely and ensure their punishment does not violate the Constitution.”
“We are mere months away from new recommendations from the Ohio Supreme Court Taskforce on the Administration of the Death Penalty that could alter our system for the better,” the letter adds. “On the eve of monumental changes, along with increasing problems with lethal injection, is not now the time to step back and pause?”