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Pope Declares Death Penalty Inadmissible in All Cases

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ROME — Pope Francis has declared the death penalty inadmissible in all cases because it is “an attack” on the “dignity of the person,” the Vatican announced on Thursday, in a definitive shift in Roman Catholic teaching that could put enormous pressure on lawmakers and politicians around the world.
Francis, who has spoken out against capital punishment before — including in 2015 in an address to Congress — added the change to the Catechism, the collection of beliefs for the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics.
The revision says the church would work “with determination” for the abolition of capital punishment worldwide.
“I think this will be a big deal for the future of the death penalty in the world,” said John Thavis, a Vatican expert and author. “People who work with prisoners on death row will be thrilled, and I think this will become a banner social justice issue for the church,” he added.
Sergio D’Elia, the secretary of Hands Off Cain, an association that works to abolish capital puni…

Ohio lawmakers should keep the seriously mentally ill off death row: editorial

Ohio's death chamber
The Ohio General Assembly should pass a bipartisan bill forbidding Ohio to give a death sentence to someone convicted of aggravated murder - but also found to have a serious mental illness. He or she would instead be sentenced to life imprisonment, which is far more reasonable and compassionate.

Ohioans to Stop Executions and other death penalty opponents on Thursday called on Gov. John Kasich and state lawmakers to not resume executions next month and to pass legislation prohibiting death sentences for mentally ill murderers.

State Sens. John Ecklund, a Munson Township Republican, and Sandra Williams, a Cleveland Democrat, are lead sponsors of Senate Bill 40, which defines "serious mental illness" as schizophrenia; schizoaffective disorder; bipolar disorder; major depressive disorder; or delusional disorder."

Ohio already has a Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity defense. But retired Supreme Court Justice Evelyn Lundberg Stratton, a Republican, told the Senate Judiciary Committee that NGRI "often does not apply ... [when] individuals ... may know what they have done is wrong, but their delusional thinking may cause them to believe they are impervious to punishment or that some greater force compels them to act."

Under SB 40, if a court ruled that a defendant was ineligible for the death penalty due to a major mental illness, he or she would have to be sentenced to life imprisonment without parole; life imprisonment with parole eligibility after serving 25 or 30 full years in prison; or, in certain instances, an indefinite sentence of 30 years to life.

In December, according to the Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, there are 627 Ohio inmates serving life sentences without parole, while 140 other inmates are on Ohio's death row. SB 40 would create a limited-time procedure -only during the first 365 days after the bill became law - for re-sentencing to a life sentence someone already sentenced to death, if that inmate could prove he or she had a serious mental disorder at the time of the crime.

According to the Legislative Service Commission, the Ecklund-Williams bill embodies one of 56 recommendations made by a death penalty task force commissioned by Supreme Court Chief Justice Maureen O'Connor, a Greater Cleveland Republican. Senate Bill 40 is common-sense, bipartisan - and humane. The Senate and House should send it to Gov. John R. Kasich's desk - soon.

Source: Cleveland Plain Dealer, Editorial Board, January 3, 2018


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"One is absolutely sickened, not by the crimes that the wicked have committed,
but by the punishments that the good have inflicted." -- Oscar Wilde

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