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February 2, 2010

Might Ohio keep pace with Texas in the number of executions in 2010?

The question in the title of this post is prompted by this local news report, which is headlined "Ohio Supreme Court sets 3 new execution dates."  Here are the basics:

The Ohio Supreme Court has set three execution dates, including one for a death row inmate who says he's innocent. The rulings put the state on pace to execute a record number of inmates, with executions now scheduled monthly through September.

This DPIC page with upcoming executions shows that Ohio right now has nearly as many executions planned for 2010 as Texas.  If past is prologue, Texas will likely schedule more execution in the near future, while Ohio's Supreme Court seems content to only schedule one per month.  Thus, I still expect Texas to win the execution contest for 2010 (as they have in every other year in recent memory).

Though Ohio likely won't be able to keep up with Texas, the state's steady and heavy pace of executions for 2010 is still quite significant for many reasons.  Ohio is currently the only state using a one-drug lethal injection protocol; monthly successful executions in the state might lead other states to consider adopting Ohio's new protocol.  In addition, Ohio has all of its state-wide office holders up for election in 2010; it will be very interesting to see if Ohio's new status as the Texas of the north could become a campaign issue.

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February 2, 2010 at 03:09 PM | Permalink


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Ohio is significant for one other reason: Outside of the South, it has by far the most active execution chamber over the past five years. In fact, other than Ohio (15) and Indiana (4), no other non-southern state has executed a total of more than one person over the past five years. Ohio, with its aging population and fleeing young people, is an outlier.

Posted by: dm | Feb 2, 2010 6:10:16 PM

dm --

If Delaware AG Beau Biden (the Vice President's kid) has his way, "oulier" Ohio will soon be joined by the First State.

Of course whether the upcoming Ohio executions constitute an "outlier" has nothing to do with whether they are justified. That depends on how gruesome or calculated the murders were, and that I don't know. But the bare fact that Ohio is unusual among northern states -- to the extent it remains unusual -- is neither here nor there.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Feb 2, 2010 7:30:05 PM

I think all state Supreme courts should set the execution dates. Less politics. There are about 25 eligible death warrants in Florida and our Governor signs about 1 every two months. Why, nobody knows except Gov. Crist. The Florida statute should be changed.

Posted by: DaveP | Feb 3, 2010 4:38:29 PM

Well, the state supreme court signing warrants is not always the solution. Just look at Missouri: the state supreme court there has inexplicably not issued death warrants on about a dozen requests by the Attorney General.

Posted by: Alpino | Feb 4, 2010 4:13:59 AM

By the way, have any reporters actually asked Governor Crist why he's been so slow in signing death warrants?

Posted by: Alpino | Feb 4, 2010 4:15:23 AM

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