OKLAHOMA – All executions are on hold in Ohio after a federal judge ruled the state’s lethal injection process in unconstitutional.
It’s all because of a controversial drug we use right here in Oklahoma.
Three Ohio death row inmates sued the state, arguing the sedative Midazolam does not create a deep enough state of unconsciousness.
A federal judge has ruled the “use of Midazolam will create a substantial risk of serious harm.”
That’s the bar set by the U.S. Supreme Court to prevent cruel and unusual punishment.
The Ohio judge granted a temporary injunction, putting executions there on hold.
Richard Glossip was set to die in September 2015.
It would have been the first time Midazolam had been used since it went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.
But, a drug mix-up in McAlester postponed everything for Glossip.
“One of the things the United States Supreme Court said in Glossip is the plaintiffs, the death row inmates, would have to provide the court with an alternative method of execution which was less painful,” said legal analyst David McKenzie.
The Ohio inmates did that, pointing to a compounded dose of Pentobarbital.
Oklahoma used a form of the drug before officials couldn’t get their hands on any more and switched to Midazolam.
Now, the Ohio ruling will likely come up in a lawsuit here at some point, but legal experts said it may not help Glossip.
“They can certainly try, but the judge would probably rule that this has already been decided. You had your bite at the apple, and you lost,” McKenzie said.
Again, Oklahoma courts are not bound by the ruling, but death row inmates will likely use it at some point in a civil lawsuit.
Glossip’s attorneys tell us they’re still working to free him from death row.
That’s where he’s sitting with about 50 other inmates whose executions are still on hold.