Monday, August 09, 2010

Call for review of death row cases in Ohio

Several high-ranking officials in Ohio, including former Attorney General Jim Petro and Supreme Court Justice Paul Pfeifer, are calling for a comprehensive review of all death-row cases and a possible a moratorium on executions while that review's carried out, reported this morning.

Petro told the Columbus Dispatch yesterday that an independent task force should examine the cases of inmates on death row and that the state should halt executions in the meantime. The former attorney general, who supports the death penalty, none-the-less said, "We should show restraint, caution and diligence with these cases… DNA has opened a lot of people's eyes with what it can do. When you are talking about death, you can't afford to make even one mistake."

Justice Pfeifer, who was one of three Republican state senators who brought back the state's death-penalty law in 1981 after the old law was declared unconstitutional, said the state needs to look at "whether or not death is the appropriate penalty."

"Attorney General Richard Cordray," the USAToday article said, "on the other hand, said he hasn't seen anything to justify a moratorium of executions in Ohio, and Gov. Ted Strickland doesn't support an additional review either. 'I would caution against setting up sort of an extra-judicial process to replace what is a very understood and rigorous approach to these matters,' he said."

Both Strickland and Cordray, did say, though, that DNA testing should be done on evidence collected in the cases of seven men who have served time in Ohio prisons, including one currently on death row.

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