As part of our “tough on crime” mentality, many elected officials and members of the public have supported the belief that people convicted of serious violent crimes are deserving of death, yet few of us look beyond the crime to see how these sentences are handed down.
Earlier this month, members of the Ohio General Assembly gathered to receive information about capital punishment in Ohio. The Joint Legislative Study Committee on Victims’ Rights listened to a representative from the Office of the Attorney General while he discussed the problems Ohio is having obtaining the needed drugs to execute people.
By Chris Geggie
The American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio supports a bipartisan bill which seeks to spare those with severe and persistent mental illness from facing execution in the state of Ohio. This bill came out of the Ohio Supreme Court Task Force, which recommends an end to this barbaric practice.
Following the botched execution of Dennis McGuire in Ohio early last year and other similar bungled executions across the country, death penalty opponents have been calling for reform.
In a recent article, former Governor Bob Taft (R) argued that the escalating price tag of the death penalty should warrant reconsideration of its use in Ohio.
The end of 2014 was not a good moment in Ohio’s long and sordid history with the death penalty.
In the final weeks of session, the General Assembly passed House Bill 663 (HB 663), which shrouded executions in unnecessary and dangerous secrecy that could lead to yet another botched execution.
Ohio’s death penalty has had a long and sordid history. Just look at the past decade:
» Four botched executions.
» Ten people granted clemency by the governor.
» Fifty-six recommendations from an Ohio Supreme Court taskforce of experts to revamp our broken system.
At this point, we do not know. But we do know that it’s a gamble the State of Ohio is willing to take, as officials recently released the revised execution schedule for the next two years.
In April, we urged Governor John Kasich to pause executions through the end of 2015 so that courts and experts could take the time needed to ensure that lethal injections do not amount to cruel and unusual punishment.
It shouldn’t be news to anyone who has read a paper or watched television that there are significant problems with lethal injection. This year, Ohio, Oklahoma and Arizona have all had executions that left witnesses with little doubt that they were botched.
As long as the death penalty exists, we have a duty to make sure that it is carried out fairly. Death is the harshest punishment society can dole out, so we must ensure that the right person is convicted, that it is reserved for the worst offenses, and that the execution procedure is transparent and administered in a humane way.
This is the third in a series of posts focusing on issues we will be tackling at the 2014 ACLU of Ohio biennial conference, Resist. Reclaim. Restore Your Rights!
Recently the Ohio Supreme Court Death Penalty Task Force released recommendations for improving Ohio’s oft-criticized death penalty system.
Ohio made history today by becoming the first state to use the two-drug combination of midazolam and hydromorphone in the execution of Dennis McGuire. State officials decided to use this experimental combination of powerful sedatives and painkillers after supplies of approved execution drugs ran dry.