COLUMBUS – The ACLU of Ohio issues a warm endorsement of a bipartisan bill introduced earlier today that would abolish the death penalty in Ohio.  In the press conference announcing the legislation, Senator Nickie Antonio informed the public that the legislation is expected to have unprecedented support from Republicans and Democrats, signaling a momentous shift in public opinion on attitudes about capital punishment.

The following statement can be attributed to J. Bennett Guess, Executive Director of the ACLU of Ohio:

“The ACLU of Ohio has opposed the death penalty since our inception. To see the statewide and national momentum to abolish capital punishment is a long-awaited celebration for civil libertarians everywhere. We strongly support this effort in solidarity with death row exonerees, victim’s family members, religious organizations, advocacy groups, and lawmakers on both sides of the aisle ready to part ways with an arbitrary, racist, expensive, ineffective, and unjust branch of Ohio’s criminal legal system. As of today, 23 states plus Washington D.C. have cut ties with the death penalty, Ohio can and should be the next.”

In January, the ACLU of Ohio and Ohioans to Stop Execution released a statewide public opinion poll conducted by the Tarrance Group, revealing that 59% of Ohioans support replacing the death penalty with life in prison without the possibility of parole.