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September 18, 2009


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Patrick S. O'Donnell


I'm sure Doug Berman over at Sentencing Law and Policy has discussed previous if not similar botched attempts before but I don't have the time now to search for the links. However, readers may want to follow his posts and links to the Broom case in particular, the latest of which is here:

Stephanie Farrior

This is not unusual, and it's the third time in three years in Ohio. Other states where botched executions from lethal injection have taken place include Texas, Illinois, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Indiana, South Carolina, Nevada, Florida and Georgia. Some of the best-known examples, compiled by Michael Radelet, are here:

In Ohio three years ago, for example: "it took 22 minutes for the execution technicians to find a vein suitable for insertion of the catheter. But three or four minutes thereafter, as the vein collapsed and Clark's arm began to swell, he raised his head off the gurney and said five times, "It don’t work. It don’t work." The curtains surrounding the gurney were then closed while the technicians worked for 30 minutes to find another vein. Media witnesses later reported that they heard 'moaning, crying out and guttural noises.' Finally, death was pronounced almost 90 minutes after the execution began."


One wonders how many stories we'll hear like this before we realize the death penalty is inherently cruel.

Michael Greco

At the risk of being obtuse, I'd call this a negligible issue. Coerced confessions and fabricated evidence as well as insufficient preparation of mitigation in resisting the imposition of the death penalty in the courtroom are the primary issues -- I'll venture that few people to whom a death sentence is administered will have devoted much thought to minimizing the physical suffering they inflicted on their victims in the course of the crimes for which they are ultimately executed.

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