24th September 2009
53-year-old Romell Broom wept and tried to help his executioners find a vein, only to leave the death chamber alive. This isn’t “cruel and unusual punishment”?
Last Tuesday afternoon, on September 17, 53-year-old Romell Broom lay strapped to a gurney inside the death chamber at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Lucasville, OH, as “medical” staff — also known as an “execution team” — struggled to insert IVs into his arms.
The point, of course, was to kill him, by the same method currently used in every death penalty state in the country: Lethal injection. It’s a technique widely seen as perfectly humane, including by the U.S. Supreme Court, which last year ruled that, despite several documented executions gone awry, it does not violate the 8th Amendment ban on cruel and unusual punishment.
Nevertheless, it doesn’t always go according to plan — and certainly not in Ohio. In 2006 a different Ohio prisoner named Joseph A. Clark lifted his head from the gurney after his vein collapsed and said “It don’t work, it don’t work, it don’t work, it ain’t working,” repeatedly, according to one witness.