Thursday, February 10, 2011

Death Sentences on the Decline in Ohio

Ohio Executes More Offenders Than it Sends to Death Row

Debbie Henthorn a contributor to Yahoo News makes an interesting observation about the death penalty in Ohio. I have written on this blog that Ohio carried out more execution in 2010 than every other state with the exception of Texas. Ohio accounted for about 18 percent of all executions carried out nationwide in 2010.

There are nine executions scheduled for 2011. There were eight executions carried out in 2010 the most in a single year since Ohio reinstated the death penalty in 1999. In addition to the eight executions,three other condemned inmates were scheduled to die, but Richard Nields was granted clemency and two others, Kevin Keith and Sidney Cornwell, had their sentences commuted.

While 11 inmates were removed from death row in 2010, there were only six new arrivals for the year. The last conviction to result in the death penalty in Ohio was Mark Pickens of Hamilton County for three counts of aggravated murder. Pickens was transferred to death row on July 16, 2010.

Henthorn points out that there are fewer offenders being sentenced to death than are being executed. Fewer prosecutors are seeking the death penalty and fewer juries are imposing the death penalty. This goes against a national trend that has existed since the death penalty was reinstated in 1976 by the U.S. Supreme Court in Gregg v. Georgia, 428 U.S. 153 (1976). That is why Ohio has 157 men and women on death row. Is the tide turning against capital punishment?

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