OHIO (USA): ALL 2015 EXECUTIONS POSTPONED
January 30, 2015: Gov. John Kasich issued reprieves today for all executions scheduled this year, pushing seven back to 2016.
The move came less than a month after state prison officials changed the drug used to put inmates to death and amid continuing national debate over the death penalty following complications during executions in Ohio and elsewhere. The Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction said the schedule changes were needed "to allow DRC and defense counsel to continue necessary preparations for the adoption and implementation" of a new lethal injection drug protocol adopted on Jan. 8 and announced on Jan. 9.
DRC added in a released statement, "The new dates provide ... adequate time to secure a supply of the new execution drugs." Ronald Phillips, who was scheduled for lethal injection on Feb. 11, had his execution rescheduled for Jan. 21, 2016. Other executions postponed until next year include: Raymond Tibbetts, changed from March 12 to Feb. 19, 2016; Gregory Lott, changed from May 14 to April 20, 2016; and others.
In early January, state prison officials announced they were abandoning a two-drug lethal injection combination that resulted in the prolonged execution of Dennis McGuire on Jan. 16 last year. Instead of midazolam and hydromorphone, the state will rely on pentobarbital or thiopental sodium for future lethal injections. The latter was last used in an Ohio execution in 2011, when officials shifted to the former due to difficulties finding supplies.
The change spotlighted struggles Ohio and other states have had in carrying out death sentences, after overseas companies effectively blocked the use of drugs they manufacture in executions.
State prison officials could purchase lethal injection mixtures from compounding pharmacies, but the Department of Rehabilitation and Correction has had difficulties finding pharmacies willing to provide the lethal injection drugs because they don't want to be identified publicly.
Late last year, state lawmakers passed, and Gov. John Kasich signed into law, legislation blocking the release of information about compounding pharmacies and others involved in executions. But those law changes don't take effect until March 20. (Sources: the-review.com, 30/01/2015)