Woman sues US prison over son’s botched execution

WASHINGTON, July 3, 2007 (AFP) – The mother of a US man whose 2006 execution took 86 minutes and involved sticking needles into him 19 times has sued the prison team which oversaw the execution for civil rights violations. On Monday Irma Clark filed suit in the Cincinnati, Ohio, district court, alleging her son Joseph Clark was exposed to “excessive suffering” violating the US constitution when he was put to death on May 2, 2006, at a state prison in Lucasville, Ohio, according to court documents.

The suit claims that two prison administrators and 12 members of the execution team ignored the fact that Clark, who had been sentenced to death for a 1984 murder, had long been an intravenous drug user making it difficult to carry out the execution by lethal injection.

The filing said it took the execution team 25 minutes on their first attempt to place shunts in Clark’s arms to inject the three drugs used in the execution, because of heavy scar tissue on his arms from drug use.

“The first execution attempt failed, probably due to a collapsed vein,” the complaint read.

“The execution team discovered the problem when Mr Clark lifted his head from the gurney and repeatedly stated, ‘It don’t work.'”
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