The lethal injection procedure used by the state of Ohio could cause pain to condemned prisoners, and is therefore unconstitutional, a judge in that state ruled on Tuesday.
In issuing the decision, Lorain County Common Pleas Judge James Burge "ordered the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction to stop using the drugs that paralyze muscles and stop the heart, and simply administer a lethal dose of an anesthetic," the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports. In April, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the state of Kentucky's lethal injection protocol (involving the administration of three drugs) did not violate Eighth Amendment protections against cruel and unusual punishment. That decision -- Baze v. Rees -- effectively lifted an informal moratorium on executions that had been in place since the Court undertook review of the case. The New York Times reports that, since the Baze ruling, executions have been carried out in Georgia (2), Mississippi (1), South Carolina (1), and Virginia (1), while executions in Texas are scheduled to resume on Wednesday.