A federal judge today stayed the next three executions on Ohio's lethal injection calendar, pending ongoing litigation. Ronald Phillips was scheduled to die Jan. 12, 2017.
At issue is the Fears v. Kasich suit
, which seeks transparency in Ohio's lethal injection protocol — its sourcing of the drugs and whether Midazolam is suitable for state execution under the Eighth Amendment.
The use of Midazolam has been publicly criticized and questioned since Ohio's last execution in 2014, when inmate Dennis McGuire sputtered and snorted his way through a lengthy death at the state's hands.
Phillips, for his part, has been very active
as both plaintiff and petitioner in much of the civil litigation surrounding this issue.
According to today's order, “If a decision is issued in Fears
in time to apply it before the preliminary injunction hearing set for January 3, 2017, this Court will immediately dissolve the stay."