death row inmates end up here.

Death Row Inmates Become Political Rag Dolls

The Ohio Supreme Court has recently decided that death row inmate Rommell Broom will get a second chance, not at life, but to be executed a second time after a botched execution forced the state to delay.

The Virginia Gazette reports that executioners were unable to find a vein for the lethal drugs to take hold in 2009, but the courts made a decision based on whether the drugs entered the body of the death row inmate, as a technicality.

This is ironic because a wrongly convicted death row inmate and now exonerated man named Ricky Jackson, was one of the few in the audience of the recent Democratic debate in Ohio, who directly questioned Hillary Clinton about her support for the death penalty.

The presidential candidate’s response stayed within the realm of supporting executions before she explained that death row should only be for those who commit the most extreme crimes, such as terrorism.

Death row inmate released
Ricky Jackson, 57, of Cleveland, smiling as he speaks with reporters, after being released from a life sentence an hour earlier, in Cleveland. Jackson, who spent nearly 40 years in prison for a murder he didn’’t commit has sued the Cleveland police officers whom he says framed him in 1975. [Image by Phil Long | AP Photo]

The former death row inmate was also asked if the answer she gave was satisfactory, to which he said yes but since then, he’s felt the need to say more.

CNN gave Jackson the opportunity to publish an op-ed where he describes the crime.

“In 1975, I — along with my two childhood friends and co-defendants Wiley Bridgeman and Kwame Ajamu — was wrongfully convicted and sent to death row for the murder of a white businessman that occurred in our predominantly poor and black neighborhood in Cleveland.”

Ricky Jackson basically says that people should move further away from supporting the death penalty and in the article, he takes a more philosophical approach to how the American people should decide on who should end up on death row, even with some of the already mentioned extreme crimes.

Current Ohio Governor and Republican presidential candidate John Kasich is mentioned in an article from last year in the Columbus Dispatch as largely supporting capital punishment, but still allowed clemency as pressure was building to abolish the death penalty even though he still allowed the execution of 12 death row inmates during his first four years in office.

It’s mentioned that most Ohioans still support the death penalty, but also that there is a noticeable yet gradual drop of that support.

A wider nationwide Gallup poll taken in October of last year shows similar results.

During the debate, Hillary Clinton did say that something had to be done in light of the states wrongly executing innocent people, and currently, Ohio has halted executions until 2017 due to a shortage of lethal injection drugs.

An article on Cleveland, which was published in December, writes about the state’s current situation with trying to find a way around the drug problem, even creatively pushing the limits of the law to find unwilling drug makers or that obtaining the drugs from other countries is illegal.

The fact that they haven’t yet found a solution and Kasich’s delay to do so is often seen as a sign of weakness in politics, especially in a society that still favors capital punishment and continues to hold more people in death row.

One case of getting around the issue of the lack of lethal drug supply has made headlines recently with states such as Virginia, who are reverting to methods once deemed cruel and unusual as state legislators passed a bill to be able to use the electric chair as an option.

As of this writing, the bill has yet to make it to the governor’s desk, who has said he would have to look into it.

Death row inmates' chair
Electric chairs were once the “way to go” but have mostly been phased out. This one is a replica, which might still function with the right cables, maybe a little hat with a sponge? It’s not like the replica can’t be used, in a state that’s scrambling to hit a switch? [By Lee Honeycutt from Angola, LA, USA – Red Hat Death Chamber, CC BY-SA 2.0]

The Washington Post describes the forming of the bill that was debated for its vague language, which also gave too much credibility to a reason for it to stall in the senate, which Sen. Richard H. Stuart (R-Stafford) would not allow.

Currently, eight states still use the electric chair as an option, it has not been entirely banned but was slowly phased out in most states due to the popularity of lethal injection drugs.

Unless the states are forced to make the choice, the decision has mostly been left up to the death row inmate as to how they would want to be executed.

This has also been the case with the state of Utah where they decided to use firing squads and very recently, according to the San Diego Union Tribune, an effort to abolish the death penalty failed to win the last vote(s) needed before the deadline.

The Washington Post describes that Ricky Jackson was given $1 million by the state for being wrongfully convicted and has been out of jail since 2014.

He also says that he’s an undecided voter and this will be his first election to vote since released from death row.

There is no doubt that Rommell Broom will be put on death row again but at this time, there is no information as to when the state will make another attempt to execute him.

[Featured image by Ken Piorkowski via Flickr | CC BY-SA 2.0]

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