Thursday, February 18, 2021

Two Ohio lawmakers look to repeal state's death penalty

Two Ohio lawmakers are looking to put an end to the state's death penalty, according to WLWT-TV.

State Rep. Jean Schmidt (R-Loveland) and State Rep. Adam Miller (D-Columbus) introduced a bipartisan bill that would repeal Ohio's death penalty, which they called "out of date" and "flawed."

Schmidt said she has reevaluated the issue throughout the course of her life. Once a supporter for continuing the death penalty, Schmidt said more than a decade later, she now feels it is time to end the death penalty in Ohio.

In a release, the lawmakers stated that Ohio has had 56 executions since 1999 and there are currently 136 people on Ohio's death row. Schmidt and Miller feel Ohio could save millions of dollars if prisoners were given life without parole instead of the death penalty.

"It is 2021. It is time to end the death penalty," said Miller. "Apart from moral, ethical, and spiritual reasons to oppose capital punishment, the carrying out of executions raises significant concerns on who is sentenced to death and how that sentence is carried out. It is long past time Ohio joins the global community in ending the death penalty. "

In December, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine declared that lethal injection is no longer an option for Ohio executions, and lawmakers must choose a different method of capital punishment before any inmates can be put to death in the future.

It’s “pretty clear” there won’t be any executions next year, DeWine told The Associated Press during a year-end interview, adding he doesn’t see support in the legislature for making a switch in execution method a priority. Ohio has an “unofficial moratorium” on capital punishment, he said.

“Lethal injection appears to us to be impossible from a practical point of view today,” the governor said.

DeWine said he still supports capital punishment as Ohio law. But he has come to question its value since the days he helped write the state’s current law — enacted in 1981 — because of the long delays between crime and punishment.

DeWine called himself “much more skeptical about whether it meets the criteria that was certainly in my mind when I voted for the death penalty and that was that it in fact did deter crime, which to me is the moral justification.”

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