Too fat for execution?
From USA Today 05/08/08:
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — An inmate scheduled for execution in October says he's so fat that Ohio executioners would have trouble finding his veins and he might not be properly anesthetized.
Lawyers for Richard Cooey argue in a federal lawsuit that Cooey had poor veins when he faced execution five years ago and that the problem has been worsened by weight gain.
They cite a document filed by a prison nurse in 2003 that said Cooey had sparse veins and that executioners would need extra time.
"When you start the IV's come 15 minutes early," wrote the nurse who examined Cooey. "I don't have any veins."
The lawsuit, filed Friday in federal court in Columbus, also says prison officials have had difficulty drawing blood from Cooey for medical procedures. Cooey is 5 feet 7 inches tall and weighs 267 pounds, according to the lawsuit.
Cooey, 41, was sentenced to die for raping and murdering two University of Akron students in 1986. A federal judge granted him a last-minute reprieve in 2003. In April, he lost a challenge to Ohio's lethal injection process when the U.S. Supreme Court said he had missed a deadline to file a lawsuit.
Cooey's execution is scheduled for Oct. 14.
I think it's safe to assume that few members of the public are going to have much sympathy with Cooey. For what it's worth, I'm not a pro capital punishment kind of guy, although I have to admit I don't completely disagree with it in all circumstances either. There might be an element of validity in Cooey's argument or it might just be an increasingly used and perhaps topically appropriate attempt to wriggle out of the death penalty. Cooey's argument, of course, centres around the fact that should the first stage of the injection process fail, that is, the anaesthetic, his death will be excruciatingly painful and contrary to basic human rights. Personally, I think a painful death is far less agonising than waiting on death row for however long, just waiting to die.