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Ohio lethal injection protocols sufficiently prevent pain during executions: doctor

[JURIST] The anesthetic dosage delivered under Ohio's lethal injection [DPIC backgrounder] protocol is sufficient to prevent the condemned inmate from suffering during an execution, according to Tuesday testimony from an anesthesiologist during a court hearing on the constitutionality of Ohio's death penalty procedure [JURIST news archive]. The testimony by Dr. Mark Dershwitz [professional profile] contradicts that given Monday by another anesthesiologist [JURIST report], who said that the state's execution method does not comport with the Eighth Amendment [text] of the US Constitution or with Ohio's requirement that executions be carried out "in a professional, humane, sensitive and dignified manner." Under 2001's HB No. 362 [text], lethal injection is the only death penalty option available in Ohio. AP has more.

Last year, the US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit rejected a lawsuit [JURIST report] challenging Ohio's lethal injection practice on procedural grounds. Ohio lethal injections came under fire after a difficult May 2006 execution where staff struggled to find a vein to administer the lethal injection cocktail, and the one they did use collapsed before injection. A modified procedure was introduced in June 2006 and employed [JURIST reports] the following month. Last September, the American Bar Association death penalty assessment team called for a temporary halt on Ohio executions [ABA materials; JURIST report] on due process grounds. Several states have placed a moratorium on lethal injections pending US Supreme Court review in Baze v. Rees (07-5439) [docket; merit briefs], including Texas, Arizona, Nevada, Virginia, Georgia, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida [JURIST reports].

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Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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