Around 4:40 this afternoon, the Governor stepped in and issued reprieves for Reynolds and Durr. Reynolds now has until March 9 and Durr until April 20. It was so obviously the right thing to do that I never really thought it would happen.
He issued a statement, along with the reprieves.
Since September 15, the Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections has been working to establish a back-up or alternative lethal injection protocol in the unlikely event similar circumstances arise when implementing the death penalty in the future.
While the department has made progress, additional time is needed to fully conduct a thorough and comprehensive review of an alternative or back-up lethal injection protocol that is in accordance with Ohio law.
See, we have no plan B. The protocol says that if they're having trouble, they'll put their heads together and try to figure out what to do next. That's not a plan. So now they want to have one. You know, if we can't kill him easily, how should we do it?
Still, some fallback position more clearly established than, "We'll cross that bridge when we come to it" is obviously a sensible idea, even if it does mean an alternative execution scheme.
So Reynolds and Durr have some time. Not so for the next three (December, January and February). Strickland is holding to those dates.
It's good, at least, that there's finally some acknowledgment that our system needs help.
Now comes the really hard part: Admitting that there's no good way to go about killing people.