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March 28, 2023

Another push to try to end the death penalty in Ohio

As reported in this local piece, there is another effort afoot to abolish capital punishment in the Buckeye state.  The article is fittingly headlined "Lawmakers call for an end to capital punishment in Ohio. Again."  Here are excerpts:

Although Ohio hasn't executed anyone since 2018, a dozen state senators are banding together to abolish the death penalty. It is unclear if they'll garner enough support to end capital punishment in Ohio.

The first major hurdle is Senate President Matt Huffman, R-Lima, who opposes ending the death penalty. However, Huffman said he would hold a vote on the bill if a majority of the 33-member Senate wanted it.

The effort to end the death penalty is a familiar one for State Sen. Nickie Antonio, D-Lakewood. She has sponsored abolition bills every session for the past dozen years. "I believe it's indeed time for the state of Ohio to take the pragmatic, economically prudent, principled step to end capital punishment, which has been found to be expensive, impractical, unjust, inhumane and in the past even erroneous," Antonio said Tuesday at a statehouse news conference. She noted 11 people on Ohio Death Row have been exonerated.

Antonio said that every year she introduces the abolition bill, she has more bipartisan support. This time, she's starting out with five Republican and seven Democratic co-sponsors.  State Sens. Steve Huffman, R-Tipp City, and Michele Reynolds, R-Canal Winchester, both said their religious faith spurred them to join Antonio's effort. Steve Huffman is Matt Huffman's cousin.

"I believe that life begins at conception and ends at natural death. Like many people of faith, I believe that all human lives are deserving of dignity... even people that have committed heinous crimes," Reynolds said. The bill would replace capital punishment sentences with life in prison without parole.

Currently, there are 138 people on Ohio Death Row.  The state has executed 56 men since February 1999 when it resumed executions.  No executions have been carried out since Republican Mike DeWine became governor in January 2019.  DeWine has postponed executions, citing issues in obtaining supplies of lethal injection drugs.

DeWine, who voted for the current law when he was a state senator, has remained mum about his current personal view of the death penalty.  County prosecutors and Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost support the death penalty. Yost, a Republican, issued a statement that said Ohio's capital punishment system fails to deliver justice to families of murder victims.

Some prior related posts:

March 28, 2023 at 10:05 PM | Permalink


Ohio is somewhat to the right of the country as a whole. The country as a whole supports the DP by a clear majority, so it's hard to see Ohio abolishing it.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Mar 29, 2023 12:29:12 AM

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