Friday, June 28, 2013

Ohio Death Penalty Assessment Taskforce update

The Associated Press and Fox 19 News this morning, along with the Columbus Dispatch, Toledo Blade, and Cleveland Plain Dealer to name a few, reported the Ohio Supreme Court’s Joint Task Force to Review the Administration of Ohio's Death Penalty, appointed in November 2011, recommending that "many of the added factors that contributing to a capital punishment case, such as rape, robbery or burglary, be removed from the state's death penalty law, and that only factors such as the slaying of a child or a police officer, or a killing involving multiple victims, be used to pursue a death sentence."

“The recommendations,” the article says, “follow arguments that crimes such as kidnapping or arson rarely result in death sentences and when they do often carry the greatest risk of racial disparity among defendants.”

Also being mentioned is a recommendation that Ohio create a panel under the attorney general that would review potential death penalty cases before prosecutors take them to trial, and that under current Ohio law, that decision rests solely in the hands of individual county prosecutors.

The committee’s final report isn’t expected until later this year, but it is still reiterated that its purpose is one primarily of appraisal , spurred by the American Bar Association’s “Ohio Death Penalty Assessment Report” in September 2007 . Similar reports were compiled for Indiana, also in 2007, and later, in 2011, for Kentucky, also being taken under advisement.

Additionally, the ABA’s advocacy website has more information and additional state assessment profiles.

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