Ohio (aka Texas north) has just set 7 new execution dates – meaning there is now an execution in the state scheduled each and every month between February and October. Ohio officials are claiming that the change to a new execution drug, announced just two weeks ago, had nothing to do with this sudden splurge in execution dates.
Also having nothing to do with it are the beliefs of the Ohio Supreme Court judge who was an architect of Ohio’s death penalty law, the former director of Ohio’s prisons who personally witnessed 33 executions, and Ohio’s Catholic bishops, all of whom have called for Ohio to stop executions and get rid of the death penalty.
The wishes of the company that makes the drug Ohio intends to use for all these new executions are also apparently irrelevant. Ohio is turning to pentobarbital because sodium thiopental is no longer available from an FDA approved manufacturer, but Denmark-based Lundbeck, the only manufacturer of an injectable form of pentobarbital, has demanded that its product NOT be used for the killing of prisoners, stating bluntly:
“Lundbeck is dedicated to saving people’s lives. Use of our products to end lives contradicts everything we’re in business to do.”
The setting of 7 new death dates indicates that, so far, nothing has been able to halt the bureaucratic and/or political momentum driving prisoners into Ohio’s execution chamber.
But the chorus of voices opposing executions in Ohio is growing.