The death penalty is not justice.
For years, we at the ACLU of Ohio have fought alongside many partner organizations, including Ohioans to Stop Executions, to finally abolish the death penalty in Ohio. Although HB 183 and SB 103, identical companion bills that would repeal Ohio’s death penalty did not pass during this most recent Ohio General Assembly, the bills made more progress than ever before. There is bipartisan support in the Statehouse, and public opinion is on our side.
While we look towards continuing this fight, ACLU of Ohio staff members reflect on the historic achievements we’ve made, and the hope we have for abolition in the future.
“Witnessing the #NoDeathPenaltyOH campaign come together over the past 20 months and grow to make more than 12,000 legislator contacts makes me certain that Ohio's death penalty will soon be abolished. Despite gridlock at the statehouse, HB 183 made it further than any legislative effort to end the death penalty in Ohio's history. And this ideologically diverse coalition is increasingly led by our grassroots and devoted to lifting up exonerated Ohioans and those harmed by violent crime—the death penalty itself is on borrowed time.”
Nate Brown, Organizing Strategist (Central Ohio)
“The death penalty is perhaps the most blatant, cruelly obvious example of racism and classism in our criminal legal system. It reeks of random unfairness and partiality, based on the color of one’s skin, how much money one doesn’t have, and where the crime is prosecuted, by which prosecutor. But moreover, on a personal level, as a person of faith, I don’t want the state executing [read: crucifying] anyone in my name as an Ohio citizen and taxpayer. I don’t want another’s blood on my hands, on my life’s watch, by my government. That’s why I work alongside so many to abolish the death penalty in Ohio.”
J. Bennett Guess, Executive Director
“Death penalty abolition has more bipartisan support than ever before, and current legislation advanced further than in any past General Assembly. It’s absolutely critical that we pave the wave for repeal in the year ahead.”
Jocelyn Rosnick, Policy Director
“Ohioans from all over the state are passionate about abolishing the death penalty – and that’s incredibly heartening. I’m feeling hopeful that, through the collective power of the people, we will end this barbaric practice once and for all.”
Dan Rogan, Communications Strategist
“The death penalty in America is a broken process from start to finish with a deeply disturbing and deeply flawed origin. In Ohio specifically, the death penalty has far more to do with geography, income, and race than anything resembling justice. We know this issue has broad bipartisan support and that a majority of Ohioans want to abolish capital punishment, I remain hopeful that in the next few years Ohio can still claim to be the 24th state to repeal the death penalty. And as Bryan Stevenson said, ‘The opposite of poverty is not wealth; the opposite of poverty is justice.’”
Celina Coming, Communications Director
“I try to keep in mind how many bills—Republican sponsored bills, bipartisan bills, and Democratic-sponsored bills—do not make it across the finish line each General Assembly, even bills that have been introduced in several General Assemblies prior (like ours). We have made unprecedented progress in the 134th General Assembly toward abolishing the death penalty. Our grassroots, broad-based, bipartisan campaign is determined to abolish capital punishment and we’re hopeful this can be a reality in the 135th General Assembly.”
Sean McCann, Policy Strategist
“Abolishing the death penalty in Ohio has never been closer to reality. Death penalty abolition has earned bipartisan support in the General Assembly because people are coming to terms with its history of being imposed in a racist, costly, and arbitrary way. Exonerees and advocates have led the charge in Ohio, and their tenacity to abolish this cruel and unusual form of punishment is why the death penalty is close to being eradicated from Ohio once and for all.”
Collin Marozzi, Deputy Policy Director
“We must abolish the death penalty in Ohio. The death penalty has never been shown to deter crime or to improve public safety. The death penalty has long been administered arbitrarily and unfairly, in particular with regard to race. An execution cannot be reversed, and innocent people have been executed. The death penalty is an act of retribution and plays no role in the restoration of justice. The death penalty is not about justice; it’s about vengeance. And vengeance has no place in our criminal justice system.”
Jeff Miller, Technology Director
The ACLU of Ohio is committed to joining the 23 other states in our nation that have abolished capital punishment. Learn more.