Mr. Raglin is a Black man who was sentenced to death in the Hamilton County Court of Common Pleas for killing a white victim.

A study was recently published (2020) in the Columbia Human Rights Law Review exposing the racially discriminatory impact of the death penalty in Hamilton County.  The study found that in all cases in which the death penalty was sought, a Black defendant with at least one white victim was 5.33 times more likely than other defendants to be sentenced to death.

Mr. Raglin’s counsel has filed a motion for a new trial due to racial discrimination in the imposition of his death penalty.  


Although the Supreme Court of the United States has held that racially disparate outcomes do not invalidate a death sentence, McCleskey v. Kemp, 481 U.S. 279 (1987), this brief analyzes the aforementioned Law Review study to argue that Ohio courts should depart from the SCOTUS precedent.

The equal Protection Clause of Ohio’s Constitution is more expansive than that of the US Constitution, such that a demonstration of adverse impact suffices as reversable error, rather than requiring a showing of discriminatory intent.    

The racially disparate outcomes in Hamilton County invalidate Mr. Raglin’s death sentence and require that he receive a new trial.


The motion for a new trial was filed on February 8, 2023. A memo in opposition was filed on March 22, and Mr. Raglin’s reply on June 5. Our amicus brief was filed on September 11.


Freda Levenson

Pro Bono Law Firm(s)

Alphonse Gerhardstein

Date filed

September 11, 2023


Hamilton County Common Pleas


John P. O'Connor



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