Estate of executed inmate sues Ohio prison chief over botched injection process

[JURIST] The mother of Joseph Lewis Clark, a convicted murderer whose 2006 execution took approximately 90 minutes [CantonRep report], Tuesday filed a federal lawsuit against Director Terry Collins [official profile] of the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction [official website] and a dozen members of the execution team, arguing that the lethal injection was unconstitutionally cruel and unusual punishment. Irma Clark is acting on her son's behalf as executor of his estate; she is seeking at least $150,000 in damages and further changes to Ohio's death penalty procedures. Joseph Clark shouted "It don't work" repeatedly as the execution team struggled to find a vein suitable for injecting the three drug cocktail that has found widespread use in capital punishment [JURIST news archive]. Alongside Irma Clark at the news conference was Michael Manning, brother of Joseph Clark's victim, David. AP reported Manning as saying that his "head was spinning" as he realized Clark was in pain during the procedure.

Ohio changed its lethal injection procedures less than two months after Clark's execution and resumed the death penalty [JURIST reports] later that summer. Despite the changes, the execution of Christopher Newton this past May was also marked by extensive delays [Pravda/AP report], as the execution team took two hours to find a vein suitable for administering the drugs. The time delays were so long, Newton even needed a bathroom break. The American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio [advocacy website] is currently investigating [press release] the execution. AP has more.

 

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