Death Penalty

Moratorium on Executions

02.16.12

Ohio’s executions have been plagued by problems that even those who had supported the death penalty recognize. Ohio Supreme Court Justice Paul Pfeifer, the architect of Ohio’s current death penalty statute, has called for an end to the death penalty in Ohio, as has former Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction Director Terry Collins.

As the 2011 Ohio legislative session came to an end, Pfeifer stood before lawmakers and predicted that it is only a matter of time before the death-penalty legislation he helped write 30 years ago is abolished. He gave testimony on behalf of HB 160, a bill which would abolish the death penalty in Ohio and explained how he turned away from the death penalty after seeing how the location of crimes and the attitudes of prosecutors turn the system into a “death lottery.” The ACLU of Ohio also offered testimony in support of House Bill 160.

As lawmakers heard testimony on the fundamental injustice of the death penalty, The Dayton Daily News reported that Ohio currently holds the nation’s third highest execution rate, despite a six month hiatus and the fact that U.S. courts issued fewer death sentences this year than they have since capital punishment was reinstated in 1976.

A 2011 Death Penalty Information Center Report highlights that factors unrelated to the crime are better predictors of who will be put to death than the crime itself. Quality of legal representation, the prosecutor’s decision to pursue capital sentencing, and the victim’s race all affect who is put to death and who is not.

Call Governor Kasich to stop executions now!