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October 13, 2011

Ohio newspaper asks "Why not put executions on hold?"

The Canton Repository has this notable new editorial headlined "Why not put executions on hold?".  Here is the text:

In his 10 months as governor, John Kasich has commuted two death row inmates’ sentences to life in prison without parole.  He has allowed four others to be executed. No one can doubt that he favors the death penalty but decides each request for clemency based on whether he believes justice will be served.

Which makes his office’s response puzzling when it comes to requests that he declare a moratorium on executions until a new committee can review how the death penalty is carried out in Ohio.

Twice that we know of this year — most recently this week — Kasich has been asked to institute a moratorium. Twice his spokesman has said only that the governor supports the death penalty.  It’s as if supporters of a moratorium and the governor’s office are talking past each other.  The answer doesn’t match up with the question.

Ohio Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor said recently she will appoint a 20-member committee of judges, attorneys, legislators and law professors to review state laws and examine how death penalty cases are handled across the state.  Earlier reviews by the American Bar Association and The Associated Press had found geographic and racial disparities in the frequency of death sentences being handed down and disparities in the quality of representation of defendants in death penalty cases.

If even Ohio’s top judge, who is a former county prosecutor, sees a need to review the procedures, wouldn’t the governor want to at least consider putting executions on hold pending the committee’s review?

October 13, 2011 at 06:35 PM | Permalink


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The infinite demand for "just one more delay" is abolitionism on the installment plan.

Q: Rather than the next -- and the next and the next -- demand for a delay, why don't Ohio abolitionists just straight up seek an up-or-down referendum on the DP?

A: Because they know they'd lose, and thus they have to go about their mission without saying what it actually is.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Oct 13, 2011 7:29:23 PM

99.9% of all editorials on the DP say the same thing...get rid of the death penalty, its too costly, commute this or that one, issue a moratorium, etc etc. It gets real old real fast. These liberals need to shut up and actually think before they spew their personal thoughts out to try and convince readers their way is the only way. Here you have a state and Gov who actually reads the cases, commutes sentences, and allows the worst of the worst to be executed. And its still not enough for these editors. They lose any and all credibility when they fail to acknowledge that the DP can and does work in some instances. This is why they shouldn't be given the time of day on this or any other issue. They can't be trusted to be honest and fair.

Posted by: DeanO | Oct 13, 2011 9:09:19 PM

The day pro-dp supporters acknowledge the overwhelming probability that an innocent man, in a specific case, has been wrongfully executed, whether because of faulty analysis of scientific evidence (forensic, fingerprint etc), or of misleading eyewitness evidence, or of the omission of DNA or other testing, or of police/prosecutor corruption (eg withholding evidence), or of inadequate defense attorney performance (eg. insufficient investigation, poor management of Constitutional Rights), or of entrapment by the use of the Law of Parties (Texas), or of the denial of evidence review (unmoderated use of time limitations by the courts), etc, etc .... then just maybe those who claim ulterior motives of newspaper editors and abolitionists might have some credibility. Abolitionists speak out because of the many identifiable abuses of a broken death penalty system - abuses of which dp proponents largely deny, or otherwise claim to be in the public interest. The reason why 99.9% of newspaper editorials are for abolition of the death penalty is simply because it is wrong. One Governor, however well-intentioned, cannot guarantee the right and fairness of all executions, least of all because his tenure of office is not guaranteed beyond a few years. A permanent fix is required of the death penalty - to confine it, along with other injustices identified since the incorporation of the US Constitution, to history.

Posted by: peter | Oct 14, 2011 3:38:53 AM

Yeah, let's delay, and put victims' families through more uncertainty. It's terrible.

Posted by: federalist | Oct 14, 2011 8:53:55 AM

at leat they will save millions bucks, because
“Jailing, defending and prosecuting Ohio Death Row inmates costs taxpayers at least a half-million dollars and sometimes more than $1 million per inmate.”
But every death sentence is much more expensive because, according to ABA, the success rate is only 10%..
“Between 1981 and 2005, there were a total of 2,768 capital indictments from eighty-three of Ohio’s eighty-eight counties. (…) During the same time period, 289 capital defendants were sentenced to death in Ohio. (…) Based on the preceding figures of capital indictments in Ohio between 1981 and 2005, sentences of death were given 10.4% of the time.”

Try ten times to win one.
This means that every capital sentence costs 5-10 millions and, because a substantial part of the sentences is repealed, executions are much more expensive.
So, assuming that grosso modo the total cost of 289 death sentences is 2 billions, we see that every one of the 40 Ohio executions cost 50 millions.

On the other side life costs nothing.
American Gulag is packed by two and half millions persons with an annual cost of 70 billions. If the 1.222 killed by the American justice would still alive there would be 2.501.222 persons in jails and prisons and the total cost will be the same.

Posted by: Dott. claudio giusti, italia | Oct 14, 2011 10:05:07 AM

The article misses the obvious. The problems with the "system" are irrelevant to each individual case. Just because racism is involved with defendant A, defendant B should not get a free pass. Kasich appears to be reviewing each case prior to execution. Evaluation of and improvements to the system can be done in the background, while legitimate executions go forth.

Posted by: TarlsQtr | Oct 14, 2011 10:14:10 AM

peter --

Your post was so long I lost track. Were you saying that you were, or were not, in favor of giving Ohio voters an up-or-down referendum on the death penalty?

Posted by: Bill Otis | Oct 14, 2011 5:05:02 PM

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