The Ohio Parole Board made a rare recommendation of clemency on July 17, voting 5-2 that Jason Getsy’s death sentence should be reduced to life without parole. Getsy is scheduled to be executed on August 18 for the murder of Ann Serafino in 1995. A co-defendant who initiated and organized the crime received a lesser sentence of 35 years to life. “In imposing a death sentence, it is imperative that we have consistency and similar penalties imposed upon similarly situated co-defendants,” the Parole Board said. Since Ohio resumed executions in 1999, the Parole Board has only recommended clemency two other times, and in both cases the governor followed the recommendations.

Getsy’s death sentence was overturned by a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit in 2006 because it was found to be arbitrary. However, the sentence was restored by the full Circuit in an 8-6 vote. Gov. Ted Strickland will make the ultimate decision on clemency. The prosecution is opposing clemency. Ohio has carried out 31 executions since 1999, making it one of the leading execution states in that period.

(Associated Press, “Ohio parole board makes rare mercy recommendation in death penalty case,”, July 17, 2009). See Clemency and Arbitrariness.