FACTS:

In the 1978 case Lockett v. Ohio, the Supreme Court of the United States struck Ohio’s death penalty process as unconstitutional. Individuals who had previously been sentenced to death were resentenced after Lockett, often receiving sentences of life with the possibility of parole. FACTS: In the 1978 case Lockett v. Ohio, the Supreme Court of the United States struck Ohio’s death penalty process as unconstitutional. Individuals who had previously been sentenced to death were resentenced after Lockett, often receiving sentences of life with the possibility of parole. For at least the past decade, the Ohio Parole Board has had an unwritten policy or practice of denying parole to these individuals regardless of individual circumstances. 

Our clients were impacted by this policy. Patricia Wernert and George Clayton were each sentenced to death pre-Lockett, were resentenced, and have since been denied parole repeatedly. Both have records of good conduct, strong rehabilitative efforts, and good reentry plans. 

LEGAL THEORY:

The Supreme Court of Ohio has held that although parole is discretionary and no one is entitled to it, having set up a parole system, the state has created a “minimal due process expectation,” by which it is obligated to provide “meaningful consideration” for parole. The Board’s policy of denying fair consideration to people who were resentenced after Lockett violates that requirement.

STATUS:

On July 28, 2021 we filed this case in the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas on behalf of Plaintiffs Patricia Wernert and George Clayton, seeking a declaratory judgment finding that the Parole Board’s blanket policy of denying people resentenced post-Lockett is unlawful. On August 25, 2021, we agreed to a 28-day extension of Defendants’ deadline to file a responsive pleading.
 

Court

Franklin County Common Pleas

Judge

Lynch

Status

Active

Case number

21CV4800