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June 6, 2012

Ohio Gov Kasich grants two-week execution reprieve for mentally ill murderer

As reported in this local article, which is headlined "Kasich grants 2-week reprieve to courthouse killer facing execution," there has been a surprising development before today's scheduled Ohio execution. Here is how the article starts:

A Cleveland man who gunned down his estranged wife and brother-in-law in a courthouse basement got a two-week reprieve from execution from Gov. John Kasich yesterday. Abdul Hamin Awkal, 53, was to be lethally injected at 10 a.m. today at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility near Lucasville.

However, late yesterday afternoon, Kasich unexpectedly used his executive clemency power to postpone Awkal’s execution. He said in a statement that the time will allow Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge Stuart Friedman to hold a hearing to determine whether Awkal is mentally competent to be executed.

The reprieve was requested by Awkal’s attorneys, not by a court or judge. It was an “internal decision” made solely by Kasich’s office, a spokeswoman said. Just last week, Kasich denied clemency for Awkal without comment.

Awkal, 53, a native of Lebanon, was convicted of killing his estranged wife, Latife Awkal, and her brother Mahmoud Abdul-Aziz at Cuyahoga County Domestic Relations Court in 1992. His wife had gone there to file for divorce. Awkal chased Abdul-Aziz into a room and shot him, then shot his wife, police reports said.

Awkal’s attorneys argue that he is mentally unstable. He claims, among other things, that he has worked with the CIA in the war on terror and has helped guide U.S. war efforts in Afghanistan from his Death Row cell.

June 6, 2012 at 09:29 AM | Permalink


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John Kasich is a wuss. It really is that simple. From a lame commutation to this nonsense. This issue has been litigated to death by committed attorneys.

Posted by: federalist | Jun 6, 2012 9:58:30 AM

If, during this two-week reprieve, Mr. Awkal were to have a stroke and need brain surgery to survive, how much would the State of Ohio spend to save him for the purpose of killing him a few days later?

Posted by: Calif. Capital Defense Counsel | Jun 6, 2012 1:26:07 PM

Would you rather they let him die, only to have an appeals court decide to strike down his death sentence?

Posted by: MikeinCT | Jun 6, 2012 1:51:06 PM

MikeinCT --

Good luck on getting any sort of civil, sober answer.

Abolitionists simply refuse to understand that there are civilized, and there are barbaric, ways to inflict the DP. One might just as well ask why the state has fed this guy for 20 years only to execute him, when it could have simply starved him to death and saved a lot on food costs.

If one begins from the premise that the DP is itself barbaric no matter what, then one can ask questions like the one posed by CCDC and think he's making a Really Profound Point. The problem is that a premise is just that. It's not an argument, and still less is it proof of an argument.

Public opinion, the great majority of state legislatures, the federal government, and the Supreme Court, all support the DP when administered in a reasonably humane fashion. So does the nation's history and culture. Abolitionists can have their premise, but they don't have the right to force the rest of us to share it simply because they can stomp their feet.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jun 6, 2012 4:57:24 PM

This execution was scheduled June 14, 2011 by the Ohio Supreme Court. About one week short of a year and now they ask Gov Kasich for a delay to have a hearing in the Common Pleas court. I don't have a problem with the hearing, but his counsel waits until the last few days?

Posted by: DaveP | Jun 6, 2012 5:12:10 PM

DaveP --

"I don't have a problem with the hearing, but his counsel waits until the last few days?"

Sure. The whole idea is to game the system.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jun 6, 2012 6:16:39 PM

Well aware of that Bill. The hearing should have been requested earlier so if it was denied there would be no delay to the execution.

I wonder what our favorite defense attorney would have to say about this.

Posted by: DaveP | Jun 6, 2012 6:54:13 PM

Why wouldn't defense counsel pull this stunt? They can count on a weak-kneed governor.

Posted by: federalist | Jun 6, 2012 8:29:21 PM

federalist --

Kasich has been something of a disappointment, for sure.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jun 6, 2012 10:06:35 PM

None of you death penalty supporters answered my question.

Posted by: Calif. Capital Defense Counsel | Jun 7, 2012 1:09:06 AM

I did, he had appeals pending. Therefor he has a right to live and a reasonable chance of his sentence being overturned.

Posted by: MikeinCT | Jun 7, 2012 1:56:11 AM


"None of you death penalty supporters answered my question."

That's because your question called for an estimate of payments to be made for the killer's medical expenses, and, so far as there is any reason to believe, none of us on this thread is a physician or otherwise has the knowledge of medical costs necessary to make such an estimate.

I'm glad to see, though, that you adopt the view that your putting forth a question requires an answer. In the future, when a question is put to you, will you regard yourself as required to provide an answer?

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jun 7, 2012 3:43:33 AM

Ideally , the prisoner would have been killed by either his wife , bro-in-law or both in the course of stopping the prisoner's attack .

Two more individuals would be alive ; there would not have been a trial nor its aftermath .

I was disappointed that Justices Pfeifer and O'Donnell were not able to persuade their colleagues to grant a stay .

O’Donnell and Pfeifer, JJ., dissent and would grant the motion, order the defendant to be re-interviewed by Dr. Resnick, and authorize the trial court to set an execution date pursuant to R.C. 2949.29(A).

I believe that Governor Kasich acted appropriately , notwithstanding his youth .

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Dissent of 5 June 2012 in #95-1132 (cc → Π & Δ counsel of record)
Wednesday, June 6, 2012 9:40 AM
From: "D-J-B % 52"
To: Paul.Pfeifer@…, Terrence.O'Donnell@…
Cc: kemullin@…, bmoriartylaw@…, kmcafferkey@…, docileb007@…, kind.soul@…

Dissent of 5 June 2012 in Ohio v. Abdul Awkal
06 Jun 2012 09:39 ¤ Law Day #54 +36 Days ¤ Fiat justitia ruat caelum

NOTE cc → Π & Δ counsel of record to avoid ex-parte communication issues

►Gentle Souls: At times it seems that with age comes wisdom .

• Just my opinion on age v. wisdom.

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Posted by:  They call me —►Mister Blank◄— | Jun 7, 2012 8:42:33 AM

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