On Monday, December 19th, there was an announcement that Federal Magistrate Judge Merz issued a stay of execution for Ronald Phillips (January 12th), Raymond Tibetts (February 15th), and Gary Otte (March 15th) until litigation challenging the new drug cocktail policy can be resolved. The plaintiffs in the case claim that this new method of execution will result in a painful and inhumane death, which would violate the cruel and unusual punishment clause of the U.S. Constitution’s Eighth Amendment. But today, December 22nd, it was announced that Governor Kasich has both denied the plea for mercy and clemency for Ronald Phillips, and rescheduled the first two executions for February 15th and March 15th, respectively. The delay in executions is for the sole purpose of allowing the courts to resolve the legal challenges before the executions take place, and in no way indicates that they will be postponed indefinitely.
Given that information, IJPC will not be holding the vigils planned for January 11th and 12th. All are invited to attend the gathering OTSE is planning at the Atrium in the Ohio State Courthouse on the 12th instead. The postcard (can be picked up some at IJPC’s office) and phone call campaign for Governor Kasich (614.466.3555) will continue as he has the authority to reverse his decision and grant clemency to an inmate at any time. You can also contact Governor Kasich electronically here.
IJPC will communicate further updates as they become available.