The use of lethal injections will no longer be allowed for executions in the state of Ohio, and an alternative method must be found if capital punishment is to continue in the state, Governor Mike DeWine said this week.
In an interview with the AP, DeWine (R) said that there is already an “unofficial moratorium” on the death penalty in the state, and that it seems unlikely that any executions will occur next year.
If capital punishment is to continue in the state, lawmakers must find an alternative method of execution, DeWine said, though he did not think that would be a priority of the state’s legislature.
“Lethal injection appears to us to be impossible from a practical point of view today,” the governor told the AP.
DeWine’s decision comes after previously expressed concerns about the suffering the drugs cause, as well as a shortage of available drugs for lethal injection, as many drug manufacturers refuse to provide drugs for executions.
In early 2019, in his first death penalty-related act as governor, DeWine ordered a temporary stay on executions and asked the state prison system to look for alternatives to lethal injections. According to the AP, DeWine’s order came shortly after a federal judge had found that Ohio’s lethal injection protocol caused “severe pain and needless suffering.”
The death penalty has been under severe scrutiny in Ohio for years. In one notable case in 2014, a new lethal injection protocol was first used on Dennis McGuire, who had pled guilty to raping and killing a pregnant 22 year-old woman named Joy Stewart.