In addition to attorneys making a plea on July 18 for the United States Supreme Court to delay the upcoming executions of three death row inmates in Ohio, lawyers for Ronald Phillips also appealed for him individually on Thursday, asking the highest court for an emergency stay of execution. The request for his stay is apart from attorneys’ plea to the high court to delay executions that included Raymond Tibbetts and Gary Otte on the basis of Ohio’s injection protocol plan that entails the use of the sedative Midazolam.

Age at time of crime appeal by condemned man

Thursday’s appeal is premised on the argument of Phillips’ age at the time he raped and murdered his girlfriend’s three-year-old daughter.

His appeal relies on the fact that he was 19-years-old when the crime was committed, which, for argument’s sake before the highest court, means if he was one year younger when he killed the toddler, the Supreme Court would bar his execution. His appeal states that the cut-off age for “juveniles” should be age 19 or 21 and not age 18, according to the Associated Press and U.S. News & World Report.

If the U.S. Supreme Court opinion agrees with Phillips’ lawyers, the court’s decision would preclude Ohio from executing him on July 26. In addition, it would break ground that will, then, provide a legal foundation for future appeals when the condemned is under age 21 and is scheduled for execution. Phillips raped and murdered Sheila Marie Evans in 1993, which is why he was sentenced to death by lethal injection.

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Ohio’s state attorneys argue against execution delays

On Friday, Ohio’s state attorneys presented their argument against postponing the state’s pending executions, including Phillips’ date with death – and the subsequent executions of Tibbetts and Otte. The attorneys asserted that delaying their capital punishment has “little chance” of legal victory, according to U.S. News & World Report. The lawyers also contend that repeatedly delaying the executions are tapping out “state resources.”

The trio of soon-to-be executed inmates argues that additional time is needed so they can level an appeal concerning the 8-6 ruling rendered by United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit on July 5, which granted the state approval on its new lethal injection protocol. The drug cocktail to effect death entails the sedative midazolam, the paralytic rocuronium bromide, and the heart-stopping potassium chloride. Justice Elena Kagan handles the type of appeal the condemned inmates seek.

Economic harm from halting executions

The state attorneys, however, have stated that Ohio endures ongoing harm if postponements are permitted every time the execution protocol is stopped and restarted.

They pointed out that training for carrying out capital punishment takes a month, at a minimum. Prior to each execution, four dry-runs are required, but six rehearsals are generally the norm. If Phillips’ execution is put off, that delay, in turn, imposes the potential that subsequent executions scheduled will also be delayed.

Respective of Phillips’ appeal pivoting on his age at the time of his crime, the state attorneys countered that Ohio Governor, John Kasich “has been considerate” and Phillips is being ensured that his case receives “adequate review,” U.S News & World Report noted. However, the lawyers said, “Executive grace” is not limitless.