Ohio's Chief Justice Calls for Death Penalty Review

The Chief Justice of the Ohio Supreme Court, Maureen O’Connor, has initiated a review of the state’s death penalty to determine if changes should be made and asking, “Is the system we have the best we can do?” To conduct the study, Justice O’Connor called for a 20-person committee of judges, prosecuting attorneys, criminal defense lawyers, lawmakers and academic experts convened by the state’s Supreme Court and the Ohio State Bar Association. She stated the review “will make sure the current system is administered fairly, efficiently, and in the most judicious manner possible.” The committee will also review a 2007 report by the American Bar Association that called for a moratorium on the death penalty while problems identified in the report were examined. Another Supreme Court Justice, Paul Pfeifer, who helped write the 1981 death penalty law as a state senator, has called for such a review in recent years, and has said the law should probably be abolished.

Phyllis Crocker, interim dean of the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law at Cleveland State who chaired the ABA report on the Ohio law, applauded O’Connor’s announcement: “A thorough examination of our state’s death penalty system was one of the goals of the 2007 ABA Death Penalty Report.”

(A. Welsh-Huggins, “Ohio’s top judge calls for death penalty review,” Associated Press, September 8, 2011). See Studies, Recent Legislation and Ohio.

UPDATE: MEMBERS OF THE STUDY COMMISSION

The Joint Task Force is chaired by the retired Hon. James A. Brogan of the Second District Court of Appeals in Dayton.

  • Sara Andrews - Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction
  • Joseph T. Deters - Hamilton County Prosecutor
  • Hon. Stephen L. McIntosh - Franklin County Common Pleas Court
  • Douglas A. Berman - Ohio State University Moritz Collage of Law
  • Hon. Kathleen A. Keough - 8th District Court of Appeals
  • John P. Parker - Private practice attorney
  • Phyllis L. Crocker - Cleveland Marshal Collage of Law
  • Hon. Linda J. Jennings - Lucas County Common Pleas Court
  • Samuel H. Porter - Porter, Wright, Morris and Arthur, LLP
  • Jon Paul Rion - Rion, Rion and Rion Co., LPA,
  • Sheriff Albert J. Rodenberg - Clermont County Sheriff’s Office
  • Stephen A. Schumaker - Ohio Attorney General’s Office
  • Hon. John M. Solovan - Belmont County Common Pleas Court
  • Hon. John J. Russo - Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court
  • Dennis Watkins - Trumbull County Prosecutor
  • Sen. Shirley A. Smith - Cleveland
  • Sen. Bill Seitz - Cincinnati
  • Rep. Lynn Slaby - Akron
  • Hon. W. Carlton Weddington - Ohio House of Representatives
  • Hon. Roger Wilson - Champaign County Common Pleas Court
  • Tim Young - Public Defender, Columbus