Appeals Court Upholds Ruling Against Use Of Midazolam In Ohio Executions


Professor Deborah Denno was quoted in NCR Online regarding Ohio’s usage of the drug midazolam in lethal injections.

According to Deborah Denno, a professor at Fordham University’s law school who specializes in capital punishment issues, midazolam was originally Ohio’s “plan b” to a protocol that began with sodium thiopental. After sodium thiopental was discontinued by the pharmaceutical manufacturer due to its usage in executions, midazolam became the state’s go-to.


“The fact that the state that first introduced this drug as a viable drug to use for lethal injection has now held, or at least a lower court judge has held it to be unconstitutional is quite a statement,” Denno said.

Denno, Dunham and the Court of Appeals agree that the Ohio decision benefited from additional history and facts that the Supreme Court case did not have.

“Ohio has always been at the forefront but it’s also had a lot of problems, that’s one reason it has been at the forefront of these execution methods,” said Denno.


Denno, who notes that the state has already filed an appeal to the court’s opinion, says it’s difficult to predict what the ruling will mean for the state’s injection drug protocol. She did say that typically states will find a different drug rather than spend their time and resources on trials. Arizona and Florida have already abandoned the drug.

The U.S. Supreme Court is scheduled to hold a conference April 21 about a re-hearing petition from the inmates. Denno is unsure how much the Ohio decision will play into the court’s decision, especially since Ohio is “not going along with their holding, basically.”


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