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April 12, 2016

Anyone eager to predict when (or if) Ohio is likely to carry out its next execution?

The question in the title of this post is prompted by this new local article headlined "2016 is the second year without executions in Ohio. But death penalty foes won't claim victory yet." Here are excerpts:

This year will be the second in a row in which Ohio will not conduct any executions. Ronald Phillips, convicted in a Summit County murder, is scheduled to die Jan. 12, 2017. But until the state can procure more of the drugs, or changes the drugs it uses for lethal injection or changes its form of execution, there won't be more executions in Ohio.

"We're at a place where for progress to be made, if they're not going to fix it then they're going to have to end it," said Abraham Bonowitz, a spokesman for Ohioans to Stop Executions. The group, along with 23 partners, plan to hold a series of events Tuesday at the Ohio Statehouse to lobby for their cause. There is a sense opinions are changing as the state wrestles with how to carry out executions and as more people become critical of the years – sometimes decades – required to carry out the sentence....

Ohio has had trouble getting drugs to use for lethal injections in great part because pharmaceutical companies don't want their medical products used for killing people. Two years ago European pharmaceutical companies blocked further sales on moral and legal grounds. Ohio has looked for other options, but all have obstacles.

First it turned to a previously untried lethal-injection cocktail using drugs commonly found in hospitals.  But the only time it was used became controversial because Dennis McGuire took 25 minutes to die.  Other states tried the same drugs with more grisly results.

After that, state lawmakers passed a secrecy law hoping to encourage small-scale drug manufacturers called compounding pharmacies to make its lethal-injection drugs. But so far, none have been willing. The state then looked to buy drugs from overseas, only to be told by the federal government that it would be illegal....

A bi-partisan bill that would abolish the death penalty in Ohio is pending in the Ohio House. It was introduced last July by Democratic Rep. Nickie Antonio of Lakewood and Republican Rep. Niraj Antani of Miamisburg.

Other states, too, have considered ending executions. The Republican-dominated Nebraska legislature overrode a veto of that state's Republican governor last year on legislation that halted executions. Voters have since put in initiative on the November ballot to restore the death penalty....

Of the 26 people on Ohio's death row with execution dates in 2017 into 2019, 17 have been on death row for at least 20 years. Five have been on death row for more than 30 years. The long period involved in the appeals process just stalls a victim's family from finding closure, Bonowitz said.

"It's also become pretty clear that the method of execution has become so challenging it calls into question whether its worth keeping the death penalty," he said.

April 12, 2016 at 01:07 PM | Permalink


Clearly not a priority for Kasich.

That article was so biased--nothing really from the victims' perspective.

Posted by: federalist | Apr 12, 2016 1:40:55 PM

The article has this quote: "We're at a place where for progress to be made, if they're not going to fix it then they're going to have to end it," said Abraham Bonowitz, a spokesman for Ohioans to Stop Executions.


"Melinda is the Chair of the Board. She was elected to serve in this capacity in 2014. Her personal story with Ohio’s death penalty is remarkable. Melinda’s mother, Judith Johnson, was murdered in 1998. Melinda spent the next eight years of her life working to prove the innocence of her then-husband Clarence Elkins, who was wrongfully convicted of the murder. Melinda’s family began to move forward with their lives in 2008 when the true culprit was brought to justice. Her exhaustive work, and that of the Ohio Innocence Project, led to the exoneration of Clarence Elkins in 2005."

But, perhaps not the right type of victim.

Posted by: Joe | Apr 12, 2016 1:49:07 PM

Joe, that comment is so obnoxious and is typical. The Clarence Elkins frame job was appalling, and the prosecutor's dogged (and in my view evil) attempts to keep Mr. Elkins in prison should offend anyone who believes in justice. But your snide remark discounts the suffering of people who have been waiting patiently for justice, only to have justice thwarted.

Doug, people whine in here about my slash and burn commentary, but where are those people when you have commentary like Joe's? "But, perhaps [,] not the right type of victim." isn't a reasoned response to my comment--just snark AND discounting the suffering of people who did not ask to be relatives of capital murder victims. Joe's comment isn't civil (unless one thinks being snide and being civil aren't mutually exclusive.) It's haughty and snarky.

But what does one expect from a liberal?

Posted by: federalist | Apr 12, 2016 2:12:36 PM

unfortunately these days everyone believes their a victim for one reason or another, it's the same type of corruption that takes place for the word 'hero'

Posted by: life is not for wimps | Apr 12, 2016 7:42:27 PM

As you should know by now, federalist, I neither criticize nor seek to police the (in)civility of any comments. I urge everyone to appreciate that bombast and name-calling often generates more heat than light, but I notice that some folks seem to be engaged more by warmth than by illumination.

Posted by: Doug B. | Apr 12, 2016 11:18:56 PM

"I neither criticize nor seek to police the (in)civility of any comments"---oh you have whined about mine--in an exchange with bruce cunningham. My issue, of course, with Joe's comment is the snark masquerading as faux erudition.

Joe's was a lame comment.

Posted by: federalist | Apr 13, 2016 8:57:46 AM

There was a claim that the article has "nothing really from the victims' perspective," but it quotes an institution whose very chairperson is a victim.

Now, people can believe that not executing certain people "should offend anyone who believes in justice," but VICTIMS of the death penalty disagree with you. An institution that reflects their interest was quoted. A voice "from" their, "the victims'" perspective was cited. My "lame comment" was made to point this out.

I'm sorry you think it "obnoxious," but I find it a tad obnoxious myself that "victims" are made out to support one side. They do not. Many victims oppose the death penalty. They are not any one type of person.

Posted by: Joe | Apr 13, 2016 10:15:47 AM

Joe, you compound your obtuseness. The point is that the wait for justice is gut-wrenching. That issue is NOWHERE mentioned.

And you're right, not all victims' family members support the DP. However, those who do not don't have the rug yanked out from them like those who do. I've made this point a million times.

Posted by: federalist | Apr 13, 2016 11:04:17 AM

There is a logical gap in the argument that uses the inability to get drugs as a reason to abolish the death penalty. There are two separate issues here. First, should we have a death penalty? Second, is there any viable morally acceptable means of executing people?

Assuming that the opposition of some people to the death penalty has made the State's preferred execution method impossible (or nearly impossible), the proper debate is whether there is another acceptable means of execution. If there is, then private individuals and companies should not be allowed to obstruct justice, and the State should promptly take steps to eliminate the extralegal veto that these individuals and companies are casting over the criminal justice system by moving to that other method. It is only if lethal injection is the only morally acceptable means of execution that a state like Ohio needs to confront whether the difficulty of executing by lethal injection warrants repealing the death penalty.

Posted by: TMM | Apr 13, 2016 12:28:39 PM

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