Monday, September 12, 2011

Death Penalty in Ohio to be Reviewed by State Supreme Court

Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice Maureen O'Connor announced a committee will review the state's death penalty law and determine if changes should be made to the 30 year old law, according to the Associated Press.

The review will make sure the current system is administered fairly, efficiently and in the most "judicious manner possible,” said Judge O’Connor. "Is the system we have the best we can do?" said O'Connor told the Associated Press. She added "Convening persons with broad experience on this subject will produce a fair, impartial, and balanced analysis."
The 20-member committee, convened by the Supreme Court and the Ohio State Bar Association, will consist of judges, prosecuting attorneys, criminal defense lawyers, lawmakers and academic experts.
O'Connor made it clear in the annual speech given by chief justices that the review won't debate the law itself, reported the Associated Press.
A 2005 review of 20 years of capital punishment data by the Associated Press concluded that death sentences varied widely depending on where in the state charges were brought. The AP review also found people convicted of killing a white victim were twice as likely to receive a death sentence as those whose victim was black.
As it stands, the state is the midst of an unofficial death penalty moratorium while a federal judge decides whether the policies Ohio follows for carrying out executions are constitutional. Three executions have already been postponed and on Thursday defense attorneys filed a motion to delay an execution scheduled for next month.

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