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March 16, 2007

Ohio's new Governor issues first clemency denial

Thanks to ODPI and the AP, I see that "Gov. Ted Strickland denied clemency Friday to an admitted killer scheduled to be executed on Tuesday, who would be the first inmate put to death in Strickland's tenure as governor."  Here are more details from the AP:

Kenneth Biros, 48, originally was to be executed by injection Jan. 23, two weeks after Strickland took office, but the governor said he needed more time to review the case and those of two other death row inmates.  He postponed the executions of all three on Jan. 10....

The Ohio Parole Board recommended against clemency and Strickland agreed. A request to delay the execution is before the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati.  "We did what we felt like we needed to do in terms of due diligence and did a very careful, thoughtful review of everything and found nothing that we felt would mitigate against the decision of the jury," Strickland said.

As detailed in some posts listed below, I had thought that the new administration in Ohio and the dynamic national politics surrounding the death penalty might lead to a change of course in Ohio's death penalty this year.   Clearly Scott at ODPI also had some high expectations, which are now perhaps dashed with as evidenced by this comment: "Strickland Friday afternoon stealth clemency denial:  It's going to be the same ol' garbage for the next four + years." 

Speaking of ODPI, posts here and here document the confusing and uncertain legal status of on-going lethal injection litigation, which might still disrupt the scheduled Tuesday execution of Kenneth Biros.

Some recent related posts:

UPDATE:  ODPI has more info and reactions here and here, including excerpts of a lot of Saturday's press coverage. Also, I now see Kent at Crime & Consequences adds his perspective here.

March 16, 2007 at 05:19 PM | Permalink


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I wonder why everyone is so shocked. While Strickland is going to play kissy face with these out-of-mainstream zealots who despise the death penalty, does anyone really think that a politician is going to spend political capital for a guy like Biros?

And you know, it really is funny to see how the death penalty has more of an importance to the fringe than it should. I am reminded of a South Dakota editorial when the South Dakota volunteer was going to be put down. The editorial called for citizens to reflect on the fact that someone was going to be killed in their name. You have to wonder at the mindset that can produce such an uproarious statement. Most people, working hard, with kids and other responsibilities, don't have the time or the inclination to pause and reflect on some murderer being removed from the planet. Moreover, in case these nitwits didn't realize, there is a war on. Our soldiers, Marines, sailors and airmen deserve our thoughts a hell of a lot more than some murderer.

In the same vein, shouldn't the moonbats want Strickland to focus his energies on God only knows what liberal projects, rather than frittering away political capital on a killer like Biros.

At the end of the day, I fail to see how executing a murderer is really that big of a deal. Yeah, there's a solemnity to it, and yeah, it's an oppportunity to rue the fact that a response to murder is necessary in our society. But really, will anyone lose any sleep over Biros (or "Ken" as his clemency lawyers referred to him). In the grand scheme of things, there are a hell of a lot more things to get worked up over than capital punishment, and I suspect that people who do get worked up about it (a) cannot fathom that others don't care nearly as much--see, e.g., the reaction to Strickland, and (b) like the heady feeling of presumed moral superiority.

Killers getting the needle--guys, get over it.

Posted by: federalist | Mar 16, 2007 8:32:56 PM

Would you argue that he should announce that he will NEVER consider any petitions for clemency ? Just considering them makes him soft on crime, right ?

Posted by: S.cotus | Mar 16, 2007 10:38:20 PM

Yeah, federalist, it's the anti-death penalty folks who have moral-superiority issues. You go right on "believing" that...

Posted by: Anon | Mar 17, 2007 12:07:25 AM

You tell 'em, anon, right after you explain to some kiddie porn victim that someone viewing him or her being abused is not further victimization.

Posted by: federalist | Mar 17, 2007 1:37:01 AM

Federalist, Your comment regarding pornography seems somewhat out of context, since the offenses involved did not seem to involve pornography. This is why people think that you are not a lawyer. There is nothing wrong with such a lifestyle choice. In some ways it is easier. You can say irrelevant things, and never provide citations.

If you were to address the issues raised, you would have to argue that production of child pr0n is a continuing offense. But, you did not. Therefore, your argument is problematic.

Posted by: S.cotus | Mar 17, 2007 6:13:17 AM

S.cotus. Your pedantry is tiresome. I don't need to argue that it is a continuing offense. All I am saying is that a person who is taped is victimized by the fact that the tape is out there for the rest of their lives. And everytime someone looks at it they are victimizing that person by invading their privacy. It's really a simple concept. Let's take Rape Victim A and Rape Victim B--RV A has her assault videotaped, and RV B does not. Don't you think that if the videotape is widely distributed is harmed more, and that every time someone looks at it, that looker, in a sense, is harming the victim (whether they came across the tape intentionally or not).

Like I said, not a hard concept for a pedant to understand.

By the way, anon had made a comment about the revictimization earlier. Hence my remark.

So did you figure out the difference between "affect" and "effect"?

Posted by: federalist | Mar 17, 2007 6:45:07 AM

Federalist, I might be pedantic, but at least I provide specifics. If you are tired, you can take a nap. Or you can not read. Or you can not respond.

“I don't need to argue that it is a continuing offense. All I am saying is that a person who is taped is victimized by the fact that the tape is out there for the rest of their lives.”

This is inconsistent. Or, perhaps you are arguing that all crimes permanently brand people as a “victim” – not in the legal sense, but in some non-legal sense that only non-lawyers can understand.

Further, it is inconsistent to argue that “victimization” (again, not in the legal sense) occurs any time that people look at child pornography, because this does not resolve the mental state of any of the parties to this crime. The person that produced the pictures might no longer have the mental state, the victim might actually not have the same sense of privacy that you impute to them – especially if the images are old, and the viewer might not be deliberately looking at the imagines.

Anyway, if you want to make substantive, supported arguments, go ahead. But you need to address specific arguments and cite authority. If you don’t do this, then you will just keep calling everyone a 1) pedant; or 2) judicial activist.

Posted by: S.cotus | Mar 17, 2007 12:27:53 PM

Well, S.cotus, kiddie porn victims have testified that they hate the idea that pictures of their victimization floating around forever. So when people talk of viewing kiddie porn as a "victimless" crime, I say bunk.

Posted by: | Mar 17, 2007 2:19:30 PM

yet another thread detracted . . .

As long as we're off-topic, how about those Buckeyes!?

Posted by: rothmatisseko | Mar 17, 2007 2:44:24 PM

Seriously, the state of lethal injection litigation in the 6th is abysmal. Unreasoned opinions, USDCs admittedly making decisions w/o knowing what the rules are, and close decisions with fiery dissents about the courts shirking their duties and causing equal protection violations.

Looking at the cases from Lundgren to Cooey (including the Cooey joiners, which include Biros), it's really impossible to tell what the law is in the 6th.

Posted by: rothmatisseko | Mar 17, 2007 2:48:54 PM

Just because one victim testifies that they hate something, doesn’t mean that they are, as a legal matter, victimized. On the other hand, as we have seen many so-called “victims” of child pr0n, whose only crime was taking a picture of themselves and sending it to someone, might not mind the fact that their “privacy” was violated by themselves. Whatever the case, you still have not explained, as a legal matter, how the crime occurs every time someone looks at it.

But, as rothmatisseko pointed out, you sort of hijacked the thread into a non-legal rant against people who were arrested for various crimes.

Rothmatisseko, out of curiosity, what circuit would you hold us as having the “best” DP law?

Posted by: S.cotus | Mar 17, 2007 4:33:26 PM

federalist, I'd be happy to explain the term "victimization" to the victim of a child-porn manufacturing offense just as soon as you accept the fact that there are people - many, many people - who DO care what happens to people convicted of murder after they're convicted, and who DO care, believe it or not, whether the government should be allowed to kill those folks. I know that your own moral superiority may prevent you from acknowledging as much, but just try.

Posted by: Anon | Mar 17, 2007 5:37:48 PM

I think the most prominent and open "victim" of this is Traci Lords. I think she does media interviews, so she might be willing to assist on a law review article. Nevertheless, a starting point for future research is her book: Traci Elizabeth Lords, Underneath It All (2003).

Posted by: S.cotus | Mar 17, 2007 8:22:21 PM

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