SB 183 – End Death Penalty for Racial Bias (2013-2014)
Link to Bill:http://www.legislature.state.oh.us/bills.cfm?ID=130_SB_183
SB 183 replaces the death sentence with life imprisonment without parole for all defendants whose death sentences were imposed based on their race. SB 183 allows defendants to raise a claim and bring evidence before a court that either the prosecution chose to seek capital punishment or the court chose to impose this punishment because of the defendant’s race. If a court finds sufficient evidence, then the defendant will be resentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.
Primary Sponsors:Sen. Tavares (D)
Secondary Sponsors:Sen. Brown (D), Sen. Turner (D)
Committee:Criminal Justice (S)
LSC Legislation Status:http://lsc.state.oh.us/coderev/sen130.nsf/Senate+Bill+Number/0183?OpenDocument
Our take on this bill:
The ACLU of Ohio supports SB 183. The ACLU of Ohio is opposed to the death penalty because it violates the constitutional ban on cruel and unusual punishment, is administered arbitrarily and unfairly, and fails to deter crime or improve public safety. While SB 183 does not end the death penalty altogether, the ACLU of Ohio recognizes that it is a clear step in the right direction regarding the administration of capital punishment in our state. This bill would help reduce some of the issues related to the arbitrary and unfair enforcement of our harshest punishment under law, and would give defendants a means of bringing to light some of the systemic racial biases in our justice system.