Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Ohio death penalties

After the Supreme Court’s Baze decision two weeks ago, some states weren’t wasting much time in getting their execution schedules back on track. Virginia almost immediately after the decision was made lifted its moratorium; Florida’s governor asked for “a very short list” of death warrant applications to be considered, and Mississippi, Oklahoma, and Texas indicated they would be seeking execution dates for inmates.

Baze may help Nebraska figure out what they’re going to do for executions since their Supreme Court in February ruled that electrocution, that state’s only means of execution, was unconstitutional. (Nebraska ruling)

But Ohio’s not keeping up with the same pace of things, according to reports from and elsewhere. The state, “which not long ago had one of the nation’s busiest death chambers, is led by a governor who has said he’s not comfortable with the death penalty, and top law enforcement officer who says he thinks ‘we can do better’ in applying it.” (Article)

On the occasion of the Baze decision, Ted Strickland had made the statement that he been able to determine the legal ramifications of it as yet, or how it applied to this state, which has a similar, though not identical, lethal injection procedure to Kentucky’s. “You’d think that because the methodology is quite similar that the legal outcome would be similar as well,” he said. “But I don’t want to just make that assumption without having a little deeper understanding about what was said there.”

Friday, April 11, 2008

Ohio Supreme Court mental retardedness ruling

The Ohio Supreme Court last Wednesday vacated the death sentence of an Akron man, ruling that he was mentally retarded under both Ohio and federal standards, and therefore cannot be sentenced to death. The case’s remanded to the Summit County Court of Common Pleas for resentencing under the statutory guidelines for non-capital cases of aggravated murder. (See Court’s summary)( Decision )

The man was convicted of murder, aggravated murder, and attempted murder in the shooting of three people back in 1996. That conviction was upheld on direct appeal to the Ohio Supreme Court , with the United States Supreme Court denying a writ of certiorari in 1999.

In October 2000, appellant filed petition for habeas corpus in Northern Ohio District Court, which was denied in July 2003 and appealed to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. While this claim was still pending, the U.S. Supreme Court decided Atkins v. Virginia, which prohibited the execution of mentally retarded criminal defendants, and a successive state post-conviction petition, asserting his own mental retardedness likened to Atkins. The court in this post-conviction hearing denied his application saying he had “failed to establish by a preponderance of the evidence that he had significant limitations in adaptive skills and that those limitations had existed prior to age 18.” That was appealed to the Ninth District Court of Appeals, and then to this current holding.

Concurrent with the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Atkins in 2002, the Ohio Supreme Court, in State v. Lott, established like criteria and procedures to be applied by Ohio courts in review of Atkins claims asserted by Ohio offenders under sentence of death.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Hamilton County Proposed Local Foreclosure Rule

The Hamilton County Court of Common Pleas is proposing the addition of a local rule of court pertaining to foreclosures.

Rule 45 would have provisions for pleadings, receiverships, case management, bankruptcies and judgments, confirmations of sales ordering deed & distribution, and the distribution of excess funds.

Comments will be entertained through April 30th., and may be directed to Court Administrator Michael L. Walton, Court of Common Pleas, Room 410, Hamilton County Courthouse, Cincinnati, Ohio 45202.