Romell Broom was sentenced to die for the rape and murder of Tryna Middleton by the State of Ohio and last Tuesday, Mr. Broom was strapped to a gurney and his execution by lethal injection began.
The 2+ Hour Failed Execution
Except they couldn’t find a vein in which to insert the needle. They tried his arms. They tried his legs. Broom lay there, tied to the table by long leather straps covering the length of his body. Imagine this being done to you.
Broom lay there for OVER TWO HOURS while lab techs tried to kill him. They failed. Broom went back to his Death Row cell, and his execution was “rescheduled.” The Governor of the State of Ohio was contacted about the problem and he ordered a one week “postponement.”
Ohio Has Scheduled a Second Execution
Well, now Broom’s execution — again, by lethal injection — has been put back on the calendar, and a national outcry is joining with the arguments of his lawyers that this amounts to cruel and unusual punishment. According to his counsel, this event has traumatized inmate Broom. That’s probably an understatement.
Legal Arguments Based Upon Cruel and Unusual Punishment are Being Advanced in the Face of Willie Francis Precedent
Broom’s attorneys — as well as organizations like the American Civil Liberties Union — are advancing the argument that Governor Strickland should grant clemency to Broom and commute his sentence to one of life imprisonment because of this botched execution. Of course, the U.S. Supreme Court has held that a second execution is not, in and of itself, cruel and unusual. Those in the know with their legal death penalty history will remember the Louisiana case of 16 year old Willie Francis, where an electric chair execution failed and the issue of whether or not a second try at killing Francis would be cruel and unusual. In Francis v. Resweber, the High Court held second executions were constitutional.
Florida’s Contribution — the Lesson of Angel Diaz
Here in Florida, we remember the case a couple of years back where the execution of Angel Diaz was excruciating, as the executioners pushed the needs through his veins and into muscle tissue — which meant Mr. Diaz took over half an hour to die, laying there in front of everyone on that gurney. After that botched business, the State of Florida stopped lethal injection executions for a period of time. Florida resumed executing inmates in 2008, under purportedly new and better injection procedures.
Maybe Ohio needs to look at its own procedures instead of cavalierly putting Broom’s name back on its death calendar. Or maybe they should just stop executing people, period….