The state of Ohio has postponed all of its seven scheduled 2015 executions as it works to find adequate supplies of the right drugs to put prisoners to death. Executions scheduled for 2016 are currently unaffected. The move comes after a decision earlier this month to abandon the two-drug cocktail it tested for the first time last year in a problematic execution that took 25 minutes of struggling, gasping, and snorting to kill a prisoner.
In a statement, Tim Young, the state's public defender, told the Associated Press that there was no need to follow through with executions "until we have answers to the numerous legal and medical questions posed by lethal injection."
Supreme Court to weigh in this summer
With the delay, the state now has time to revisit its execution policy and, more pressingly, find the drugs needed to execute inmates. States have struggled to adapt their policies as drug companies have refused to provide the chemicals traditionally used in lethal injections. That has led some states, like Ohio, Arizona, and Oklahoma to try out new combinations that have proved troubling.
The Supreme Court has ordered Oklahoma to delay its executions while it reviews the state's policies to determine if it indeed qualifies as cruel and unusual punishment under the Constitution. That case is expected to be argued in April, with a decision following this June.