Six years ago, the state of Ohio tried to execute Romell Broom for raping and killing a 14-year-old girl. That execution was unsuccessful—making Broom the country's only survivor of a botched lethal injection, the AP notes. Now his lawyers are trying to prevent him from having to go through another. Broom's attorneys argued before the Ohio Supreme Court yesterday that making a second attempt to take Broom's life would amount to cruel and unusual punishment, as well as double jeopardy. But prosecutors refute those claims, saying the double jeopardy claims don't stick because lethal drugs never made their way into Broom's bloodstream (the execution team couldn't find a vein they could use in two hours of trying) and that just because the previous process failed, it doesn't nullify Broom's death sentence.
Broom says he was stuck with needles at least 18 times, which a defense attorney told the court was akin to "being stabbed" for two hours, per Cleveland.com. She also began to liken the situation to that of a soldier suffering from trauma from being under fire, the AP notes. Chief Justice Maureen O'Connor interrupted: "Counsel, I don't think I'd equate your client to a United States soldier." A precedent of sorts exists for this case: The US Supreme Court allowed Willie Francis, 18, to be executed in 1947 by electric chair, even though an attempt the previous year had failed. That court's ruling said a death sentence could be carried out even if "an accident, with no suggestion of malevolence, prevents the consummation of a sentence." An opinion on the case could be weeks or months away, notes Cleveland.com.