Victims’ families, retired Judge James Brogan, and former Department of Rehabilitation and Correction Director Gary Mohr have publicly expressed support for legislation pending in both the state Senate and House that would abolish the death penalty in Ohio.  

Dozens of victims’ family members signed onto a letter sent to Ohio legislators describing a “broken system” that “fails victims’ families.” The letter states: “In Ohio, the death penalty is a false promise that goes unfulfilled, leaving victims’ families frustrated and angry after years of fighting the legal system. … And as the state hangs onto this broken system, it wastes millions of dollars that could go toward much needed victims’ services. …Ohio ranks 46th out of the 50 states and the District of Columbia in providing victim family members with economic support. Instead of spending millions on our ineffective, racist capital punishment system, Ohio needs to prioritize supporting all impacted by violence. We urge our lawmakers to make the choice that best serves the interests of victims’ families. We urge them to repeal Ohio’s death penalty.”

David Taynor, whose brother was murdered in 2010, had been in favor of the death penalty when he entered law school, but at a press conference on November 13 he described capital punishment as “simply state-sponsored murder,” according to the 

Retired Judge and former prosecuting attorney James Brogan also expressed his support for the legislation. “I do not oppose the death penalty in concept, but because it fails as an effective public policy, I support current legislation to repeal Ohio’s capital punishment statute,” he wrote in a November 16 op-ed in The Columbus Dispatch. In 2011, Mr. Brogan was appointed chairman of the Joint Task Force on the Administration of Ohio’s Death Penalty, which published a final report in 2014 providing 56 recommendations. Although “many of the procedural changes” were addressed by the Ohio Judicial Conference, “the Ohio General Assembly has done very little to address the recommendations which require implementation by legislation,” explained Judge Brogan. He urged the legislature to “act now to restore fairness and integrity to Ohio’s criminal justice system by repealing Ohio’s death penalty,” concluding that “the attempts to fix the system have failed – it is time to end it.” 

On November 15, 2023, the Ohio Senate Judiciary Committee held its second hearing of death penalty abolition bill SB 101, at which 105 proponents of the bill, including activists, faith leaders, lawyers, researchers, and individual citizens, submitted testimony. Mr. Mohr, who oversaw and administered 15 executions while at the Department of Rehabilitation and Correction from 2011 to 2018, was among those testifying. “I do not believe that we are executing the worst of the worst…,” Mr. Mohr said, “I do not believe the death penalty is a deterrent. Quite frankly, if I believed the death penalty was a deterrent and would keep our staff safe, I would not be testifying today.” He explained that for executions he oversaw there was 30 years or more from the time of the incident to execution and that “[t]here’s no deterrence when that period of time takes place.” 


James Brogan, I’ve judged, pros­e­cut­ed death penal­ty cas­es. Only way to restore fair­ness is to repeal it, The Columbus Dispatch, November 16, 2023; Jim Provance, Official who over­saw Ohio exe­cu­tions now oppos­es them, ToledoBlade​.com, November 15, 2023; Molly Walsh, Murder vic­tims’ fam­i­lies call to end death penal­ty in Ohio, Cleveland​.com, November 142023.