A report for the Innocence Project in Texas concluded that two men were wrongly convicted of arson murders using bad science, and one of them was executed. That generated headlines all around the country.
Then, in Ohio, complications during an execution delayed the death of Joseph Lewis Clark by some 90 minutes. Here's the AP account:
In Clark's case, the team worked for about 25 minutes to find a vein in his arm before proceeding with just the shunt in his left arm. At one point, a team member rolled up the leg of Clark's blue pants, looking for a vein in his right leg.
Prison procedures call for inserting two shunts, usually one in each arm, with one serving as a backup, prisons spokeswoman Andrea Dean said. In Clark's case, the execution team found one good vein, but that collapsed.
After Clark said, "It don't work," the curtain separating Clark from the area where witnesses watched the execution was pulled shut. Clark, sentenced to die for killing a gas station attendant during a spree of robberies in 1984, could be heard moaning and groaning from behind the curtain.
When the curtain reopened at 11:17 a.m., Clark still had a shunt in his left arm and his eyes were closed. He raised his head from the gurney several times and breathed deeply before becoming still.
[...] Clark had a history of drug use and prisons director Terry Collins said that could have been factor in the difficulty in finding a vein.
The complications surrounding Clark's execution come at an especially critical time, because many states are wrestling with the issue of whether lethal injection is constitutionally permissible, as explained in Stateline.org's death penalty backgrounder.