Around the World

Under Review

Chad W. Lutz
The death penalty is one of the most hotly debated social issues in America. From Hollywood to local grassroots movements, the death penalty has been contested on just about every major level on up through the United States Supreme Court. Many people believe the death penalty should only be used under extreme circumstances. Others believe the death penalty should never be used at all. Regardless of whether or not using the death penalty is a legal or moral issue, the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction Office of Prisons made an announcement on Friday, August 19, 2011 to begin closely reviewing all lethal injections following implementation.

The proceedings are an attempt ensure proper procedure and protocol is being carried out at all times. According to the Akron Beacon Journal in an August 20, 2011 article, Ohio prisons have had a “haphazard” record of applying the death penalty, citing numerous infractions of Ohio statute. Some reports have alleged failing to have the required number of people on an execution “team” present at the time of application. Another repeated offense often cited is the failure to document the mixing of drugs.

The review comes in lue of a criticism by U.S. District Judge Gregory Frost. In early July, Judge Frost delayed the execution of Ohio death row inmate Kenneth Wayne Smith. Frost said of Ohio’s death penalty policies, “[Ohio] pays lip service to standards it then often ignores without valid reasons.”

So far, Governor John Kasich has had no comment on the issue but has delayed the execution of inmate Brett Hartman who in 1997 was convicted on charges of murdering an Akron woman named Wanda Snipes by stabbing her, “138 times,” and cutting both of her hands off. Another Ohio death row inmate, Edward Edwards of Akron convicted of slaying five people over the span of 19 years was scheduled for execution on August 31. Edwards died of natural causes in April of this year.