U.S. plans to carry out eighth federal execution this year in November

Under Trump, a Republican running for re-election in November, the Justice Department has already executed twice as many men this year as all of Trump’s predecessors combined going back to 1963. (Reuters) - The U.S. Department of Justice plans to execute Orlando Hall, a convicted murderer, on Nov. 19, according to a notice filed with a federal judge overseeing challenges to the department’s lethal injection protocol.
The United States has already carried out seven executions this year after President Donald Trump’s administration revived the punishment in the summer, ending a 17-year hiatus.
Hall, 49, was a marijuana trafficker in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, who in 1994, alongside accomplices, kidnapped, raped and murdered the 16-year-old sister of two Texas drug dealers he suspected had stolen money from him, according to court records.
He and three other men kidnapped Lisa Rene from the apartment she shared with her brothers in Arlington, Texas, in an act of revenge after they paid her brothe…

Ohio Supreme Court to decide whether state’s death penalty protocol is invalid

The Ohio Supreme Court on Tuesday agreed to hear whether the state’s execution protocol is invalid because it didn’t go through the proper rule-making procedures.

The court’s decision sets up another potential complication for Ohio’s death penalty, which has been under an effective moratorium since 2018 as state officials have struggled to find execution drugs.

By a 4-3 vote, the Supreme Court accepted 2 appeals filed respectively by the 2 Ohioans who are next on the state’s execution schedule: Cleveland Jackson and James O’Neal.

The appeals claim Ohio’s 3-drug lethal-injection protocol is a rule and, under the law, all state-level rules must be first filed with the state legislature’s Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review, as well as either the secretary of state or with the director of the Legislative Service Commission.

Ohio’s execution protocol is invalid because it wasn’t filed with any of those bodies, attorneys for O’Neal and Jackson argue.

2 lower courts previously sided against O’Neal and Jackson. The Tenth District Court of Appeals ruled that Ohio’s execution protocol isn’t a “rule” but rather “an order respecting the duties of employees.” Rules, the appeals court held, govern “day-to-day procedures or operations,” but executions do not occur on a daily basis.

In each of the 2 cases, Justices Michael Donnelly, Judith French, Sharon Kennedy, and Melody Stewart voted to accept the appeals. Donnelly and Stewart are the 2 Democrats on the court.

Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor, as well as Justices Pat Fischer and Pat DeWine, dissented.

Since taking office last year, Gov. Mike DeWine has frozen Ohio’s death penalty for a different reason: the state’s continuing problems with finding a pharmaceutical company willing to sell drugs for use in executions.

The governor has repeatedly expressed his concern that if companies find that Ohio used its drugs to put people to death, they will refuse to sell any of its drugs (not just the ones used in executions) to the state. That would endanger the ability of thousands of Ohioans – such as Medicaid recipients, state troopers, and prison inmates – to get drugs through state programs.

Any new cocktail of lethal-injection drugs must also be deemed by the courts not to be unconstitutionally “cruel and unusual” punishment.

Jackson was convicted of murdering 17-year-old Leneshia Williams and 3-year-old Jayla Grant in Lima during a 2002 apartment robbery. His execution date, which has been rescheduled six times, is currently set for June 15, 2023.

O’Neal, a Cincinnati man convicted of shooting his wife to death in 1993, is set to be put to death on Feb. 18, 2021.

Source: cleveland.com, Staff, October 14, 2020

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"One is absolutely sickened, not by the crimes that the wicked have committed,
but by the punishments that the good have inflicted." -- Oscar Wilde

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