[Note:Thanks to the sharp readers who realized that this post was miswritten on a technical point. Spirko was permitted intervenor status but denied a preliminary injunction.] Judge Gregory Frost, an Ohio federal district court judge, ruled Wednesday on John Spirko's request to intervene in the Ohio lethal injection litigation. Judge Frost declined to permit Spirko to receive a preliminary injunction but permitted him to join the lethal injection suit. In denying the preliminary injection he noted that the Sixth Circuit had reached opposite results on that exact issue in the cases Jerome Henderson & Jeffrey Lundgren about permitting intervenors -- in neither case, however, the Sixth Circuit lay out its rationale on why to grant or not to grant the right to intervene and/or a stay of execution. Henderson received a stay on the lethal injection issue & Lundgren executed.
It is thus unclear which appellate decision controls. It is also unclear what the relevant substantive law is. Such lack of clarity is most troubling because when our system of law includes unexplained decisionmaking, it loses the legitimacy that must guide the state-sanctioned taking of any human life. Although it is not this Court’s intent to find fault with any panel or judge of the higher court, it is this Court’s intent to respectfully request clarification on the serious issues involved in this litigation. This Court’s inability to discern the appellate rationale for denying or granting a stay does not promote confidence in the system, does not promote consistency in court decisions, and does not promote the fundamental value of fairness that underlies any conception of justice.