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The Supreme Court Passes on Ohio Lethal Injection Case

On Monday, the United State Supreme Court declined to hear the case of an Ohio death row inmate who challenged the state’s second attempt at his execution after a botched first attempt.

Ohio first tried to execute Romell Broom in 2009; officials at the Southern Ohio Corrections Facility spent more than two hours poking Broom with needles in search of a vein for the IV to deliver the lethal cocktail of drugs, causing him at times to scream out in pain. Prosecutors and prison officials blamed Broom for the difficulty, NBC news reports, accusing the inmate of purposefully dehydrating himself ahead of the scheduled execution.

Broom’s attorneys argued that forcing the 60-year-old to prepare for his execution a second time amounted to punishing Broom twice for the same crime—double jeopardy, in other words, which is unconstitutional. The Ohio Supreme Court was swayed by the state’s argument that since the lethal injection drugs were not administered, the execution never officially began, and ruled that the state could make a second attempt, prompting Broom’s attorneys to appeal to the Supreme Court to hear the case.

Justice Stephen Breyer, who has questioned the constitutionality of capital punishment itself, and Justice Elena Kagan both said they would have heard Broom’s case. “Medical team members tried for over two hours to find a usable vein, repeatedly injecting him with needles and striking bone in the process, all causing ‘a great deal of pain,’” Breyer wrote. “The state now wishes to try to execute Broom once again. Given its first failure, does its second attempt amount to a ‘cruel and unusual’ punishment?”