I have edited the following just a tad. Pic above is Dennis McGuire who was put to death in a botched execution earlier this year (my note).
TeleSur English News Posted Wed., Nov.26, 2014
USA, Ohio state lawmakers are trying to rush through a new “secret executions” bill that would make it harder to identify state executioners or know what really happens in prison death chambers.
The legislation, House Bill 663, comes after the controversial execution in Ohio earlier this year of Dennis McGuire. The death row inmate was injected with an untested combination of drugs and endured a slow, agonizing death that lasted 26 minutes, as onlookers saw him writhing in his restraints and gasping for breath.
McGuirre’s children filed a lawsuit against the state’s execution team, declaring the method used was cruel and unusual, seeking to block its further use in Ohio.
“To a degree of medical certainty, this was not a humane execution,” said an anestheiologist who testified at the trial.
The state argued that the drug cocktail was used because European suppliers of its preferred lethal-injection drug, pentobarbital, stopped providing it for use in executions.
The federal judge subsequently issued a moratorium on all state executions until January of 2015.
The bill proposes to keep the identities of execution-drug makers anonymous for up to 20 years; to protect physicians who testify about execution methods; and void any contracts, domestic or international, that would hinder the state’s ability to obtain lethal-injection drugs.
The law also states that people who participate in the state execution could be sued if they, at any time, reveal confidential information or identities – meaning they would be exempt from subpoenas and other legal discovery proceedings.
“Simply put, the ‘secret executions’ bill will ensure that Ohioans have no idea how our state is conducting executions on our behalf,” said Kevin Werner, executive director from the non-profit Ohians to Stop Executions.
“If Ohio is going to have the death penalty, it ought to be fair and accurate – and transparent,” he added in an Op-Ed for Cleveland.com.
Lawmakers are trying to fast track the “secret executions” bill in hopes that the promised anonymity will entice other pharmacies to provide pentobarbital before the next death sentence, which is scheduled to be carried out in February 2015.
Ohio currently has 139 death-row inmates, but only 11 have a scheduled execution date.
Fourteen other states in the U.S. have tried to pass similar secrecy laws around executions. Ten of those states have approved the law, three have not, while one is still pending.