Ohio Governor Grants Clemency Based on Defendant's Mental Capacity

On July 10, Ohio Governor John Kasich (pictured) granted clemency to death row inmate John Eley, who was scheduled to be executed on July 26. Eley’s sentence was reduced to life in prison without parole. The governor said he based his decision on evidence that Eley acted under the direction of another person, and that his mental capacity was limited, saying, “Without those factors it is doubtful that Eley would have committed this crime.” The prosecutor in the case and one of the judges who sentenced Eley to death called for mercy. The Ohio Parole Board voted 5-3 against recommending clemency. Those who voted for clemency said that Eley’s crime was not one of the “worst of the worst,” and that similar crimes rarely receive death sentences. This is the third death-row clemency granted by Gov. Kasich, including two issued in 2011.

(A. Welsh-Huggins, “Ohio governor spares killer of store owner,” Associated Press, July 10, 2012.) See Clemency and Ohio. Listen to DPIC’s podcast on Clemency.