Wednesday, July 19, 2017

After three and a half years

January 16, 2014.  Just days over three and a half years ago.  

That's when a crew of select prison guards strapped Dennis McGuire to a table (we don't really use a gurney) at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Lucasville, stuck needles into his arms, and . . .
Alan Johnson, a reporter for the Columbus Dispatch, watched and described what the witnesses saw.
Dennis McGuire struggled, repeatedly gasping loudly for air and making snorting and choking sounds, before succumbing to a new two-drug execution method today. . . .After being injected at 10:29 a.m., about four minutes later McGuire started struggling and gasping loudly for air, making snorting and choking sounds which lasted for at least 10 minutes. His chest heaved and his left fist clinched as deep, snorting sounds emanated from his mouth. However, for the last several minutes before he was pronounced dead, he was still.

The Buckeyes haven't managed to kill anyone (legally, that is) since then.  What with being unable to get the drugs and the litigation and the ever changing protocols, they just haven't been able to.

Meanwhile, we've had people freed from decades in prison - the early parts on death row - for crimes they didn't commit.  We've had more getting relief, albeit not release, because of serious constitutional problems with their trials.  We've had death on the row.  And we've had more people sent to the row.

What we haven't had is any more executions.  

And yet the state survives.  

They're maybe gonna finally pass a law that exempts the truly really absolutely fucking crazy as a motherfucking bedbug guy from execution.  (Or, of course, maybe not.)

But despite execution dates well into 2020 (27 guys have serious dates, though for one or another reason it's a virtual certainty that we won't actually kill all 27 - certainly not as scheduled), we haven't actually executed anyone since McGuire.  

Three and a half years ago.

Still, the state endures.

We've had a judge declare that Ohio's death penalty law was unconstitutional because after a jury recommends death a judge has to make additional findings in order to impose a death sentence..  (That case is now pending in the Ohio Supreme Court.)  We've had another judge overrule a jury's recommendation of death because she could not, on the record before her, make those findings.

We had it announced that death row would be moving from Chillicothe to Toledo.  And we've learned that they've maybe changed their mind about the move, so now it looks like it won't happen - for sure not anytime soon.

And we haven't executed anyone here for three and a half years.

While Ohio keeps going on its way.

Our State Attorney General's son sits on the Ohio Supreme Court.  The Hamilton County Prosecutor has announced that there's no point in a third murder trial for former University of Cincinnati campus cop Ray Tensing who shot and killed Samuel DuBose.  That's unarmed Sam DuBose.  Sam Dubose who wasn't doing anything wrong.  Killed.  Shot to death by a cop.  Twice juries hung.  Tensing won't hang.  Won't go to prison.

Three and a half years.

And still Ohio thrives.  (There's that opiate overdose thing, but hey . . . .)

So three and a half years.  Which pretty much establishes that we can just let it go.  No actual need to kill anyone.  Just give it up.  We'll keep doing just fine.

Except, you know - Are We Having Fun Yet?

Time to get the gears running.  Tune the engines.  Spin the rotors.  Tote that barge. Lift that bail. Get a little drunk and you land in . . . .

Sorry, I got distracted there. 

January 16, 2014.  Just days over three and a half years ago.

And now, it looks like for real, next week.  July 26, 2017.  Ron Phillips.

Same drugs that left McGuire gasping and snorting and choking and struggling.  

Gary Otte in September.  Ray Tibbetts in October.  Alva Campbell, Jr. in November.

And on.

And on.

And on.

After three and a half years.  In which the state's done just fine.  

But you know how the tension builds.  Until we just have to kill again.  

Or maybe not.

There are petitions and motions in the Supreme Court.  But really, the ball's in Governor Kasich's court.  There's still a week.

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