Ohio

Judge refuses to lift order delaying executions in Ohio

FILE – In this November 2005 file photo, Larry Greene, public information director of the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility, demonstrates how a curtain is pulled between the death chamber and witness room at the prison in Lucasville, Ohio.

FILE – In this November 2005 file photo, Larry Greene, public information director of the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility, demonstrates how a curtain is pulled between the death chamber and witness room at the prison in Lucasville, Ohio.  (AP)

A federal judge has refused to lift his order delaying Ohio's executions after declaring the state's new lethal injection process unconstitutional.

Magistrate Judge Michael Merz last month rejected Ohio's use of a sedative used in problematic executions in Arizona and Ohio.

The judge also barred Ohio from using drugs that paralyze inmates and stop their hearts.

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Attorneys for Ohio's prison system asked the judge to lift the order, saying his decision would likely be overturned on appeal.

Merz stood by his ruling in a written opinion Tuesday. He said the state is overstating the significance of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling last year regarding the permissibility of the sedative midazolam.

The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati will hear the case Feb. 21.