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November 11, 2004

Fascinating death penalty development in Ohio

As detailed in articles in the Cincinnati Enquirer and the Toledo Blade, an unexpected coalition of Republicans and Democrats joined together in the Ohio House to approve a bill requiring an in-depth study Ohio's capital punishment system yesterday.  The bill was sponsored by Representative Shirley Smith, a Democrat from Cincinnati, but its passage became a reality when Representative Tom Brinkman, a Republican from Mount Lookout, added the bill as a surprise amendment to a distinct bill toughening sex offender sentencing.

Here are some highlights from the Enquirer article describing the bill and Representative Brinkman's support for it:

The governor and legislature would appoint an 18-member commission to look at whether those on death row received adequate legal counsel, whether capital cases are resolved fairly, and how delays in the system can be overcome.

"I am 100 percent pro-life," Brinkman said, noting that applies to abortion and the death penalty. "I told my wife that the first time I get a sentencing bill, I'm going to move this. I'd like to abolish (the death penalty) or have a moratorium, but you've got to start somewhere."

With heavy Democratic support, Brinkman's amendment passed 64-30, but not before some spirited debate among members, including Rep. Jim Hughes, R-Columbus, who said, "I'm very much pro-death."

The text of the bill can be access here.  The press reports suggest that Senate passage is uncertain because the Ohio Senate has only a few legislative days before the current session ends. 

I am rooting for the bill's passage because a comprehensive study of Ohio's death penalty system would likely reveal many important realities — both good and bad — about Buckeye capital justice.  Put another way, I am 100% and very much pro-study.

November 11, 2004 at 07:45 PM | Permalink

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» Ohio House Passes Bill for Review of Death Penalty from TalkLeft: The Politics of Crime
The Ohio House has passed a bill, sponsored by both Republicans and Democrats, to conduct an in-depth review of the state's death penalty system. Law Prof Doug Berman of Sentencing Law and Policy has the details, including links to a... [Read More]

Tracked on Nov 11, 2004 8:48:52 PM

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