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September 26, 2013

Ohio DP Task Force recommends excluding those with "serious mental illness" from capital punishment

As reported in this local article, which is headlined "Group wants law excluding severely mentally ill from death penalty," Joint Task Force to Review the Administration of Ohio’s Death Penalty (of which I am a member) endorsed a significant recommendation with respect to mental illness and the administration of the death penalty. Here are the basics:

A state task force today voted to recommend that the state legislature pass a law excluding the severely mental ill from the death penalty in murder cases.

The Joint Task Force to Review the Administration of Ohio’s Death Penalty, a creation of the Ohio Supreme Court and the Ohio State Bar Association, wants the General Assembly to hold hearings and pass a law to prevent people who have a severe mental illness, such as schizophrenia, at the time of the crime from facing the death penalty.  The aim is not to stop them from being prosecuted, however.

Despite the vote, there is a deep divide among task force members about what constitutes serious mental illness and whether the current legal system does an adequate job of screening for it.

“I don’t want everyone with ADHD or some real or imaginary disability to avoid responsibility,” said state Sen. Bill Seitz, R-Cincinnati, a task force member who voted for the proposal but with reservations.

Hamilton County Prosecutor Joseph Deters said the court system screens out the seriously mentally ill through the trial and appeal process.  “We are producing more and more layers of litigation in capital cases that I think are unnecessary.”

John Parker, a Cleveland attorney whose subcommittee recommended the exclusion, reasoned that the legislature, not the task force, is best equipped to decide what he admitted will be a contentious issue after hearing from law enforcement, prosecutors, the public defender, mental health experts and others.

Judge Kathleen Keough of the Cleveland Court of Appeals said walling off the seriously mentally ill from the possibility of being executed is “a matter of common decency.” She said the federal courts have ruled that the mentally retarded and juveniles cannot be executed and people with severe mental illness should be considered similarly. “Mental illness is not a choice,” she said....

The task force was motivated to make the proposal by former Ohio Supreme Court Judge Evelyn Lundberg Stratton, a longtime advocate for the mentally ill, who recommended when she was on the court two years ago that the “time had come to re-examine whether we as a society should administer the death penalty to a person with a serious mental illness.”

The task force, which convened nearly two years ago, will wrap up its meetings in November and begin drafting a final report to the governor and state legislators to be submitted next year.

September 26, 2013 at 03:43 PM | Permalink

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Comments

Funny. The lawyer harbors many psychotic beliefs. Minds can be read. The future can be forecast. Best of all, standards of due care should be based on the views of a fictional character. This character is really a Palestinian scam artist, dirt bag, named Jesus. And why must the character be fictional? To be objective, of course.

So this immunization of the paranoids who will often kill for no reason, often strangers, 2000 times a year, many times in a mass murder, making them the most dangerous of all murderers, is not surprising.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Sep 26, 2013 3:55:48 PM

"Judge Kathleen Keough of the Cleveland Court of Appeals said walling off the seriously mentally ill from the possibility of being executed is “a matter of common decency.”"

Ipse dixit.

Vile feminist lawyer.

Racist.

Total bias as former public defender; pro-criminal and pro-big government.

Member of Democratic Party.

Not a single member of this lawyer group ever thinks about crime victims. No one would clearly oppose the Judge. Not one could even utter the V word without needing the Rescue Squad for choking. No substantive dissent, just a little quibbling around the edges.

The number of murders in prison by the mentally ill exceeds the number of executions. Although it is still safer to be in prison than on the street, thanks to the lawyer's protecting vicious predators.

The conclusions and recommendations of this group has the moral validity of a resolution at a KKK Klatch. The ipse dixit by a morally reprehensible feminist lawyer it certainly has no scientific or external validation.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Sep 26, 2013 7:13:10 PM

And are people who are genuinely split off from reality presently being sentenced to death in Ohio? Is there a problem that needs to be fixed?

On the other hand, murderers "diagnosed" with "antisocial personality disorder," the psychiatrists' euphemism for just plain evil, should not only be executed, they should go to the head of the line. When the criteria for a diagnosis include repeatedly committing crimes and not feeling a bit of remorse, it is not mitigating.

Posted by: Kent Scheidegger | Sep 26, 2013 8:27:52 PM

Does anyone remember the basement scenes of The Silence of the Lambs? They were inspired by this guy's methodology.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gary_M._Heidnik

He happened to find the leisure time to pursue his hobby of kidnapping and torture because he made a steady income of over $80,000 a year in the Stock Market. How many of the lawyers in this group could pull off that slick trick?

How was his execution indecent?

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Sep 26, 2013 8:34:21 PM

Kent: Antisocial personality is a real brain defect. Unfortunately, its sole remedy is incapacitation. Some do well inside structured environments, such as prison, starting newspapers, mentoring programs, attending law school. Anger and aggressiveness can be lowered by meds. However, presentism (need for immediate gratification), lack of empathy, and concern for others, adherence to the rules of the group, cannot yet be inserted when missing. The best remedy would be development of a genetics test, and abortion prenatally. The quality of life for the mother and siblings is zilch after the birth of one of these.

It is identifiable by age 3. Only 10% can improve with age. It has an objective but little used test, the cold pressor test. Place a person's hand in an ice bucket. Their heart rates and blood pressures increase from discomfort. Much less so in ASPD.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Sep 27, 2013 9:16:30 AM

The people making this recommendation are either dishonest or disingenuous. Once you open the door, then every single capital litigant will use this argument to drag the case on and on.

Let the jury decide at trial.

Posted by: federalist | Sep 27, 2013 10:50:46 PM

federalist --

Nailed it. Mental state defenses have become the voodoo of criminal law.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Sep 28, 2013 9:02:56 AM

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