FEATURED POST

In the Bible Belt, Christmas Isn’t Coming to Death Row

Image
When it comes to the death penalty, guilt or innocence shouldn’t really matter to Christians.  

NASHVILLE — Until August, Tennessee had not put a prisoner to death in nearly a decade. Last Thursday, it performed its third execution in four months.
This was not a surprising turn of events. In each case, recourse to the courts had been exhausted. In each case Gov. Bill Haslam, a Republican, declined to intervene, though there were many reasons to justify intervening. Billy Ray Irick suffered from psychotic breaks that raised profound doubts about his ability to distinguish right from wrong. Edmund Zagorksi’s behavior in prison was so exemplary that even the warden pleaded for his life. David Earl Miller also suffered from mental illness and was a survivor of child abuse so horrific that he tried to kill himself when he was 6 years old.
Questions about the humanity of Tennessee’s lethal-injection protocol were so pervasive following the execution of Mr. Irick that both Mr. Zagorski and M…

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


⚑ | Report an error, an omission, a typo; suggest a story or a new angle to an existing story; submit a piece, a comment; recommend a resource; contact the webmaster, contact us: deathpenaltynews@gmail.com.


Opposed to Capital Punishment? Help us keep this blog up and running! DONATE!



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

Most Viewed (Last 7 Days)

Florida executes Jose Jimenez

Iran: Billionaire To Be Hanged After Government Collects His Money

Prisoner executions in Belarus ‘simply unacceptable’, says UN rights body

Opinion: Jerry Brown Has the Power to Save 740 Lives. He Should Use It.

The Electric Chair Is Back and the Death Penalty Is on Life Support

As next execution looms, Florida debates the drugs it uses to kill

Lukashenko: Decision on capital punishment should be made by people

20 Minutes to Death: Record of the Last Execution in France

Iran: Prisoner hanged in Mashhad

The slow death of the death penalty in the U.S.