DeWine not sure Ohio can come up with a constitutional execution method

As Ohio looks to revamp its execution protocol, drug makers are increasingly resisting such a use for their products. (AP Photo/Kiichiro Sato, File)
Gov. Mike DeWine has directed his state prisons department to find a way to carry out an execution that doesn’t involve cruel and unusual punishment.

But when asked Friday if he is certain Ohio can come up with a way that doesn’t violate the Eighth Amendment, he took a long pause before responding.

“Well, I think I’m going to wait and see what (the Department of Rehabilitation and Correction) comes up with, first of all. They will come up with a protocol.”

And has the former county prosecutor and attorney general, who has supported the death penalty, changed his view?

“It remains at this point the law of the state of Ohio, and I’m not going to comment much at this point beyond that,” DeWine replied.

His comments came during a meeting with Dispatch editors and reporters following his budget rollout Friday.

The governor has delayed four executions and says he will postpone more if necessary in order to come up with a new, court-approved protocol.

DeWine talked of the strain placed on prison employees preparing for executions as well as the turmoil experienced by victims’ families from repeated delays.

“It was just better to sweep those back for awhile and see where we’re going,” he said.

The search for a new death method was sparked when a federal judge likened Ohio’s current three-drug cocktail to waterboarding and injecting fire in the prisoner’s veins.

Part of the difficulty of developing a new protocol will be obtaining a lethal drug from manufacturers not inclined to allow their product to be used in executions.

“Looking forward, obviously DRC has got to consider as they put together a new protocol where they would get certain drugs. I assume that they will look at the difficulty of getting those drugs, as well,” DeWine said.
Darrel Rowland, Randy Ludlow, The Columbus Dispatch, March 16, 2019
DeWine not sure Ohio can come up with constitutional execution method