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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 Death Penalty Sentencing Process Ruled Constitutional

Jury box
Ohio's death penalty sentencing process is different in critical ways from a Florida sentencing scheme struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled today. 

The state's high court unanimously rejected a Marion County man's challenge to the Ohio process, which he claimed violated an accused murderer's constitutional rights.

The ruling affirmed the death penalty of Maurice Mason, who was convicted of the rape and murder of Robbin Dennis in 1993. Mason had won the right to challenge his original death sentence in 2008. When his case went before the Marion County Common Pleas Court in 2016, he argued the U.S. Supreme Court's 2016 Hurst v. Florida decision, which invalidated that state's death penalty sentencing process, applies to Ohio. 

The trial court agreed that Ohio's scheme was unconstitutional based on Hurst. Marion County prosecutors appealed the decision, and later in 2016, the Third District Court of Appeals reversed the decision and affirmed the death sentence.

In Hurst, the U.S. Supreme Court found Florida's law violated the right to a jury trial guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution's Sixth Amendment. 

Writing for the Ohio Supreme Court today, Justice Patrick F. Fischer explained that unlike procedures in Florida and other states, an Ohio jury makes every necessary finding to impose a death sentence, and that satisfies the Sixth Amendment requirements.

Chief Justice Maureen O'Connor and Justices Judith L. French and R. Patrick DeWine joined Justice Fischer's opinion. Sixth District Court of Appeals Judge James D. Jensen, sitting for recused Justice Terrence O'Donnell, and Second District Court of Appeals Judge Michael T. Hall, sitting for recused former Justice William M. O'Neill, also joined the majority opinion.

Justice Sharon L. Kennedy delivered a concurring opinion, in which she wrote that the Ohio Supreme Court's 2016 State v. Belton decision already determined the that Hurst ruling did not invalidate Ohio's death penalty sentencing process.

Source: Court News Ohio, April 18, 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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