COLUMBUS, Ohio – A death row inmate who underwent a botched execution attempt can continue to argue that a second try would be an unconstitutionally cruel and unusual punishment, a federal judge ruled Friday.
U.S. District Court Judge Gregory Frost denied a motion by the state to dismiss the challenge against another lethal injection attempt on Romell Broom. The inmate also can continue arguing that he should have access to attorneys during any future execution attempt that might go awry, the judge ruled.
Broom's execution last year was stopped by Gov. Ted Strickland after an execution team tried for two hours to find a suitable vein. Broom has said he was stuck with needles at least 18 times, with pain so intense that he cried and screamed.
Broom was sentenced to die for the 1984 rape and slaying of 14-year-old Tryna Middleton after abducting her in Cleveland as she walked home from a Friday night football game with two friends.
Broom's attorney, Adele Shank, said she was pleased with the decision and had expected the judge would recognize that Broom's Eighth Amendment protection against cruel and unusual punishment was "really called into question."
The state opposes canceling a second execution try. Ted Hart, a spokesman for the Ohio attorney general's office, said the judge "simply held that Broom's claim is plausible enough to survive immediate dismissal."
After trying to execute Broom, the state added a backup method that allows executioners to inject two drugs directly into muscle if a usable vein cannot be found. The addition was part of an overall protocol change that also switched the IV injection from three drugs to one.
Associated Press Writer JoAnne Viviano contributed to this report.