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America Is Stuck With the Death Penalty for (At Least) a Generation

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With Justice Anthony Kennedy's retirement, the national fight to abolish capital punishment will have to go local.
When the Supreme Court revived capital punishment in 1976, just four years after de facto abolishing it, the justices effectively took ownership of the American death penalty and all its outcomes. They have spent the decades since then setting its legal and constitutional parameters, supervising its general implementation, sanctioning its use in specific cases, and brushing aside concerns about its many flaws.
That unusual role in the American legal system is about to change. With Justice Anthony Kennedy’s retirement from the court this summer, the Supreme Court will lose a heterodox jurist whose willingness to cross ideological divides made him the deciding factor in many legal battles. In cases involving the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment, his judgment often meant the difference between life and death for hundreds of death-row pr…

Ohio Parole Board: Cincinnati killer still deserves death penalty even after juror sought mercy

Raymond Tibbetts
COLUMBUS - The Ohio Parole Board ruled that Raymond Tibbetts, convicted of killing two people in Over-the-Rhine, still deserved the death penalty – even after an 11th-hour plea from a juror for mercy.

The board, in an 8-1 vote, did not recommend clemency for Tibbetts to Gov. John Kasich, according to a report released Friday. Kasich will soon decide whether to continue with Tibbetts' execution, which is set for Oct. 17.

The board gave Tibbetts' case a second look after a former juror, Ross Geiger of Loveland, wrote a letter to Kasich, expressing concern that jurors didn't know more about Tibbett's background before sentencing him to death.

Tibbetts was sentenced to death for beating his wife, Sue Crawford, to death and fatally stabbing his landlord, Fred Hicks, on the same day in 1997. Geiger told The Enquirer that he had no doubts Tibbetts committed those murders. 

Even so, Geiger said he might not have recommended the death penalty if he had known about how Tibbetts had been abused as a child, put into foster care as a toddler and endured years of abuse and neglect, along with his siblings. That information was not presented before sentencing, Geiger said. 

Kasich delayed Tibbetts' execution after receiving the letter. But on Friday, the Ohio Parole Board found that evidence of Tibbetts' childhood would not have outweighed the heinous crime – even if Geiger and other jurors had all the details.

One member disagreed, saying "the defense did not fully present the scope of the childhood abuse suffered by Tibbetts and the long-term impact of that abuse." Tibbetts attorney, Erin Barnhart, said the parole board's decision would "irreparably damage the integrity of our criminal justice system."  

Mark Hicks, the nephew of victim Fred Hicks, expressed surprise and frustration that Geiger was able to delay the execution at all.

"It is absolutely unbelievable to my family and I that we are back here considering clemency for Raymond Tibbetts AGAIN because a juror was surfing the Internet one night," Hicks wrote, pleading for Kasich to go forward with the execution.

Source: cincinnati.com, Jessie Balmert, June 22, 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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