Appeals Court Rules Ohio's Execution Method Is Constitutional

Sep 11, 2019

A federal appeals court says an execution set for next May can go forward, because the condemned killer didn’t prove his claim that the state’s three-drug execution method is unconstitutional. 

Attorneys for Wayne Keith Henness argued the mixture creates the sensation of waterboarding. But the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals said the potential for suffocation posed by the drugs does not qualify as the type of "severe pain and needless suffering" prohibited by the Constitution.

The ruling reverses a decision from a federal magistrate earlier this year, which had said the lethal injection method was “cruel and unusual punishment.”

Henness was sentenced to die for the 1992 fatal shooting of a volunteer addiction counselor. His execution was scheduled for May, but the next inmate on the schedule is Cleveland Jackson of Allen County, on November 13.

However, Gov. Mike DeWine said because of problems getting execution drugs, he can’t currently see a method that works under state law.