A federal judge has refused to lift his order delaying Ohio’s executions after declaring the state’s new lethal injection process unconstitutional. Magistrate Judge Michael Merz last month rejected Ohio’s use of a sedative used in problematic executions in Arizona and Ohio. The judge also barred Ohio from using drugs that paralyze inmates and stop their hearts.
Attorneys for Ohio’s prison system asked the judge to lift the order, saying his decision would likely be overturned on appeal. Merz stood by his ruling in a written opinion yesterday. He said the state is overstating the significance of a US Supreme Court ruling last year regarding the permissibility of the sedative midazolam (mih-DAY’-zoh-lam).
The 6th US Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati will hear the case February 21.