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Ohio implements new lethal injection protocol in execution

[JURIST] Ohio corrections officials executed convicted murderer Daniel Wilson on Wednesday morning, marking the state's first use of a new lethal injection method termed "set-to-die." The procedure was announced in May, and requires officials to shake and call out to the prisoner [Plain Dealer report] after a sedative has been administered. A second dose of the sedative can then be administered, if necessary. Wilson was sentenced to death in 1992 after being found guilty of kidnapping a woman and burning her alive in the trunk of a car, and the Ohio Parole Board voted unanimously [clemency report, PDF] to deny clemency to Wilson in April. His execution [Reuters report] is said to have proceeded without any problems.

A de facto national moratorium [JURIST report] on the death penalty ended last year when the US Supreme Court ruled in Baze v. Rees [JURIST report] that the three-drug lethal injection sequence [DPIC backgrounder] used in most states does not violate the Constitution. Last April, anesthesiologists presented conflicting testimony [JURIST report] during court hearings held to determine whether Ohio's lethal injection [DPIC backgrounder] protocol at the time complied with the US Constitution and with Ohio's requirement that executions be carried out "in a professional, humane, sensitive and dignified manner." In 2007, the American Bar Association's death penalty assessment team called for a temporary halt on Ohio executions [ABA materials; JURIST report] on due process grounds. The previous year, Ohio's execution protocol had come under heavy criticism after staff had difficulty administering the drugs and an inmate awakened during the procedure, but the US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit rejected a lawsuit [JURIST report] challenging Ohio's lethal injection practices.

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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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