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California: With state executions on hold, death penalty foes rethink ballot strategy

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California advocates of abolishing the death penalty got a jolt of momentum in March, when Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that he would not allow any executions to take place while he was in office.
But after trying twice this decade to persuade voters to end capital punishment, they have no plans to go to the ballot again in 2020. Rather than seeking to build on Newsom’s temporary reprieve for Death Row inmates, activists are taking their own pause.
Grappling with the legacy of their two failed initiatives, advocates are reassessing their strategy and retooling their message. Natasha Minsker, a political consultant who has long been involved with abolition efforts, said the governor’s moratorium has given advocates the opportunity to do long-term planning.
“There’s this excitement and energy in our movement that we haven’t had in a long time,” Minsker said.
Newsom’s executive order caught many Californians by surprise. Although he supported the unsuccessful ballot measures to abolish t…

Ohio: Clemency recommended for Death Row inmate Arthur Tyler

The Ohio Parole Board recommended to Gov. John Kasich today that convicted killer Arthur Tyler’s death sentence should be commuted to time served, making him immediately eligible for release from prison.

The entire panel voted 11-0 to grant clemency to Tyler, 54, of Cleveland, who is scheduled to be executed on May 28.

However, by 6-5 vote, the majority specified that Tyler should have “immediate parole eligibility.” The other five members said instead he should be parole eligible in two years.

The board said in a recommendation submitted this afternoon to Kasich — who will make the final decision on clemency — that “doubt exists as to whether Tyler is the principal offender in this case.” In addition, the Cuyahoga County prosecutor “now recommends mercy,” the board said.

“Given the doubt that surrounds the evidence, commutation to life without the possibility of parole would not serve the interests of justice in this case. Granting Tyler immediate parole eligibility would allow the board to immediately evaluate his institutional conduct and to consider other release suitability factors.”


Source: The Columbus Dispatch, April 29, 2014

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