The Latest: Judge denies request for execution witnesses
Jul. 18, 2017
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The Latest on Ohio's attempt to resume executions July 26 (all times local):
A federal judge has denied a request by attorneys for Ohio death row inmates to allow extra witnesses of upcoming executions.
Attorneys want two "appropriately trained persons" such as a nurse anesthetist and a lawyer to ensure the execution is carried out in a constitutional manner.
The state is scheduled to resume executions July 26 after a more than three-year delay while Ohio searched for new supplies of lethal drugs.
Judge Michael Merz rejected the request Tuesday. He said there's no evidence a nurse anesthetist would be able to evaluate an inmate's consciousness from the viewing room.
He also said the person would be perceived as biased coming from the inmate's legal team.
Three condemned Ohio killers have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to delay their executions.
The request to Justice Elena Kagan comes as the inmates continue to challenge the state's new lethal injection method. Kagan handles such appeals for Ohio.
Attorneys for the inmates filed the request Tuesday. Among the death row prisoners is Ronald Phillips, who is scheduled to die July 26 for the 1993 rape and killing of his girlfriend's 3-year-old daughter in Akron.
The attorneys say they need more time to appeal a lower court decision allowing Ohio to use the new drug method.
The procedure includes the sedative midazolam (mih-DAY'-zoh-lam). The drug has been used in executions that were problematic in Ohio, Arkansas and Arizona.
The state is expected to oppose the request.