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February 28, 2007

Brewing Ohio (capital) March madness

ODPI here has set out some very pointed "questions for Ohio Attorney General Marc Dann."  The questions show that those hoping Ohio's new administration would embark on a new capital course are getting frustrated by the lack of new developments.  And the post leads me to spotlight that some serious March madness is brewing in Ohio in the arena of the death penalty.

As I recently noted here, Texas is the only state in the execution business these days, and the March 20 execution date for Kenneth Biros in Ohio may be the next serious execution date outside the Lone Star State.  Of course, Biros was due to be executed in January, but new Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland granted a temporary reprieve to provide more time to review his clemency materials.  And, meanwhile, the Sixth Circuit still needs to decide, a case that was argued nearly three months ago, whether and how Biros is permitted to challenge Ohio's lethal injection protocol in federal court.

I fear that, as March unfolds, the Sixth Circuit and Gov. Strickland might get trapped into a game of capital punishment chicken.  I sense that Gov. Strickland (and AG Dann) would be eager to have the Sixth Circuit ruling in the lethal injection litigation before deciding to go forward with the scheduled execution.  But I also have to think the Sixth Circuit is hoping that Gov. Strickland will do something bold about Ohio's death penalty system before it has to rule on the lethal injection litigation.  All I know for sure it that something will have to happen before March 20.

February 28, 2007 at 05:39 PM | Permalink


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