Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Anonymity for Those Involved in Executions

Guest Column from State Representative Jim Buchy

A few months ago, I learned that state officials would not start executions again until certain protections were in place to keep the identity of those involved with the process private. What that means is the drug manufacturers and the physicians who are involved with the executions can rest easy knowing their names aren’t tied to the execution. This is a big roadblock that we need to get past so that we can begin the execution process again. The criminals on death row are murderers and have been on death row for an average of 17 years. We need to get this process moving so we don’t extend that timeframe.

Carrying out the court-ordered death penalty in the case of a heinous murder is very important for providing legitimacy across the legal system in Ohio. Potential criminals need to know that there will be punishment for their crimes and in the case of a murderer; they need to know that their punishment could very well be death.

Right now on death row, they are so slowed down that only a small fraction of inmates have received their court-ordered executions scheduled. This can be attributed to lawyers drawing out the process and pushing back the dates.

The pharmaceutical companies that make and sell the chemicals used for these executions may refuse to sell to the state anymore because they want anonymity. House Bill 663 keeps the pharmacies anonymous when it comes to their participation in the transactions that supply Ohio with the lethal-injection drugs we use.

All too often, lawyers see opportunities to take advantage of other people’s suffering. There are concerns that we may start seeing tort involving private citizens and companies that were just carrying out the will of the court system.

To carry out the lethal-injection process we need professionals who can administer drugs and conduct the executions in a humanitarian manner. Ensuring that their identity is protected will allow us to have the best possible people involved with the process. This is the largest step to restarting the capital punishment process and getting our court-ordered executions started again.

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