Why Stop?

Facts on the Death Penalty in Ohio          Downloadable Fact Sheet here

1.  Under its 1981 death penalty statute Ohio has carried out 53 executions by lethal injection since 1999, all men. Ohio’s eight executions in 2010 was the second highest total in the United States after Texas.

2. In Feb. 2015 there were 140 inmates on death row.

3. There are 11 executions scheduled for 2016 at Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Lucasville.

4. Ohio’s supply of Pentobarbital for use in lethal injections expired at the end of September, 2013. On January 16 The Ohio Department of Corrections executed a gasping Dennis McGuire in a procedure lasting 26 minutes with an unprecedented combination of the sedative midazolam and the painkiller hydromorphone – that had never before been used in the U.S. Ohio now plans to execute without disclosing for 20 years the drugs compounded by unnamed firms

5. Since 1976 Ohio Governors have commuted 18 death sentences, including five by Governor Kasich who in November 2013 postponed the execution of Ronald Phillips for seven months so his “nonvital” organs could be harvested for transplanting as he requested. Governor Taft commuted the death sentence of Jerome Campbell of Hamilton County following DNA evidence established that it was his own blood on sneakers that the prosecution suggested to jurors was from the victim.

6. Nine men have been officially exonerated from Ohio’s death row, 154 in the U.S.

7. 66% of inmates on death row are there for killing white victims and 31% are there for killing black victims. African Americans comprise 65% of victims of murder in Ohio.

8. In 2007, a study conducted by the American Bar Association concluded that Ohio was deficient in 93% of the protocols needed for a fair and accurate death penalty system. These deficiencies lead to the creation of the Ohio Supreme Court Joint Task Force to Review the Administration of the Death Penalty in 2011. In 2014 the task force recommended over 50 reforms.

9. During a lethal injection that took 90 minutes in 2006 Joe Clark protested “It don’t work” and “They’re not working.” A year later the execution of Chris Newton took two hours, including a bathroom break. Romell Broom’s 2009 execution was stopped by Gov. Ted Strickland after an execution team tried for two hours, and he remains on Death Row.

10. In August 2013 Billy Slagle committed suicide two days prior to his scheduled execution.

11. Hamilton County with 7% of Ohio’s population accounts for 17% of those on Ohio’s death row — 24. Cuyahoga and Franklin Counties each with 10% of the state’s population each account for less than 10% of those awaiting execution.

12. 19 U.S. states have abolished the death penalty. 100 countries have abolished the death penalty, 58 countries and territories are retentionist, and 22 countries carried out executions in 2014. The U.S. total of 35 executions in 2014 ranked 5th after China, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Iraq. 

Ohio Death Penalty References

AMERICAN BAR ASSOCIATION The Ohio Death Penalty Assessment Report: An Analysis of Ohio’s Death Penalty Laws, Procedures, and Practices, September 2007

OHIO DEPARTMENT OF REHABILITATION AND CORRECTION Capital Punishment in Ohio http://www.drc.ohio.gov/public/capital.htm

OFFICE OF THE OHIO PUBLIC DEFENDER, Death Penalty Information http://opd.ohio.gov/default.htm

OHIO ATTORNEY GENERAL, Capital Crimes Annual Reports http://www.ohioattorneygeneral.gov/Files/Publications/Publications-for-Law-Enforcement/Capital-Crimes-Annual-Reports.aspx
Representatives for Victims of Capital Crimes

OHIO SUPREME COURT Joint Task Force to Review the Administration of Ohio’s Death Penalty http://www.supremecourt.ohio.gov/Boards/deathPenalty

OHIO HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES HB 385, Proposed Legislation to abolish Ohio’s death penalty. http://www.legislature.state.oh.us/BillText130/130_HB_385_I_Y.pdf
Representative Nickie J. Antonio (D-13) and Representative Dan Ramos (D-52)

OHIOANS TO STOP EXECUTIONS The Death Lottery: How Race and Geography Determine Who Goes to Ohio’s Death Row http://www.otse.org/

OTSE A Crumbling Institution  http://www.otse.org/otse-releases-2015-report-a-crumbling-institution/


DEATH PENALTY INFORMATION CENTER http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org/state_by_state



John Murphy, Capital Punishment and the Citizens of Ohio, 29 U. Dayton L. Rev. 329 (2004). http://www.americanbar.org/content/dam/aba/administrative/death_penalty_moratorium/29_udlr_329.pdf

David L. Hoeffel, Ohio’s Death Penalty: History and Current Developments, 31 Cap. U. L. Rev. 659 (2003). http://www.americanbar.org/content/dam/aba/administrative/death_penalty_moratorium/31_capulr_659.pdf

Death Row in Ohio, 2003: The Case for a Study Commission, The Ohio Death Row Research Group, 72 U. Cin. L. Rev. 223 (2003). http://www.americanbar.org/content/dam/aba/administrative/death_penalty_moratorium/72_ucinlr_223.pdf

Joseph E. Wilhelm and Kelly L. Culshaw, Ohio’s Death Penalty Statute: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, 63 Ohio St. L.J. 549 (2002). http://www.americanbar.org/content/dam/aba/administrative/death_penalty_moratorium/63_ohslj_549.pdf

S. Adele Shank, The Death Penalty in Ohio: Fairness, Reliability, and Justice at Risk – A Report on Reforms in Ohio’s Use of the Death Penalty since the 1997 Ohio State Bar Association Recommendations Were Made, 63 Ohio St. L.J. 371 (2002). http://www.americanbar.org/content/dam/aba/administrative/death_penalty_moratorium/63_ohslj_371.pdf

Bob Fitrakis Free Byrd & Other Cries for Justice,  2003  http://www.isbns.com.cv/isbn/9780971043824

5 Myths and Facts

Myth: The death penalty deters crime.

Fact: There’s absolutely no evidence that the death penalty serves as a crime deterrent.

There is no way to correlate the homicide rate to a single factor such as whether or not a particular state uses the death penalty.

The National Academy of Sciences concludes that existing research “is not informative about whether capital punishment decreases, increases, or has no effect on homicide rates.”

While criminologists, police and social scientists simply don’t know how capital punishment affects the homicide rate, they do know that factors such as poverty, unemployment, addictions, drug trafficking, untreated mental illnesses, and increased availability of guns do drive up murder rates.

Myth: The death penalty is used worldwide.

Fact: The vast majority of countries, 139, no longer use the death penalty.

The countries with the highest number of executions are China, Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and the USA.

Myth: Execution is cheaper than life in prison.

Fact: Capital punishment costs three to ten times more than the cost of keeping a prisoner incarcerated in a maximum-security prison for life.

Every stage of a death penalty case is more time-consuming and expensive than in a conventional murder trial because the Constitution requires a long, complex judicial process in death penalty cases from trial, to appeals, and habeas proceedings.

Replacing the death penalty with life sentences would save millions of taxpayer dollars, assure that the public is protected, and eliminate the risks of executing wrongfully convicted persons.

 Myth: Only the guilty are sentenced to death.

Fact: The criminal justice system has made untold errors in convicting and sentencing innocent people to death.

As of June, 2015, 155 individuals have been exonerated—that is, found to have been falsely accused, convicted and sentenced to die before being set free from death row. Several came within hours of having been executed. Some spent as long as 39 years on death row before being exonerated. These exonerations in no way prove that “the system works.” Rather than the judicial system having gone to bat for the wrongfully convicted, it has been the prisoners themselves, along with innocence projects, law students, and caring individuals who’ve made vindication possible.

Studies recently published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences indicate that many wrongfully convicted persons are probably not being identified and are languishing behind bars or have already died or been executed.

Myth: Only the “Worst of the Worst” are sentenced to death in this country.

Fact: Landmark studies show that race, wealth, and geographic location determine who gets sentenced to death and who doesn’tnot the brutality of the crime.

Ohioans to Stop Executions analyzed the administration of Ohio’s death penalty over 3 decades and concluded, “the race of the victim, the county in which a crime occurs and the views of the county prosecutor are far more predictive of death sentences than any other factors.”

According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, Blacks and Whites have been the victims of murder in nearly equal numbers since 1977; however, 80% of executions are carried out against those convicted of murdering Whites.

In a 2014 report to the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, the NAACP stated, “the justice system is biased against those without money to hire adequate legal defense. Nearly all death row inmates are poor and most are racial minorities.”

Most people on death row have not been able to pay for a qualified attorney to represent them. U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg commented, “I have yet to see a death case … coming to the Supreme Court … in which the defendant was well represented at trial.”