"Execution of mentally ill is issue for task force," is Alan Johnson's report in today's Columbus Dispatch. Here's an extended excerpt. If you are interested in mental health or Ohio issues, I would recommend reading the entire article.
Inmates diagnosed with serious mental illness could not be executed under a recommendation being considered by a state death-penalty task force.
A host of other recommendations, including requiring audio- or videotaping of all Ohio Parole Board clemency proceedings, are on the agenda at today’s meeting of the Joint Task Force to Review the Administration of Ohio’s Death Penalty. The multiagency panel was established by Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor and the Ohio State Bar Association.
A subcommittee voted 5-0-1 that the full task force should urge state legislators to pass a law to “exclude from eligibility for the death penalty defendants who suffer from ‘serious mental’ illness at the time of the crime.” The recommendation relies heavily on the legal opinion of former Ohio Supreme Court Judge Evelyn Lundberg Stratton, a longtime advocate for the mentally ill who left the court at the end of 2011.
Stratton testified at the committee’s June meeting about mental illness and the death penalty. The task force also cited Stratton’s opinion in a 2011 murder case in which she said the “time had come to re-examine whether we as a society should administer the death penalty to a person with a serious mental illness.”
She noted that the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled against executing the mentally disabled and juveniles but has not dealt with the mentally ill.
Stratton said that “the line should be drawn by the General Assembly, not by a court.” And that line would determine exactly what constitutes a “serious” mental illness.
Mental Health America, a national group, estimates that up to 10 percent of all U.S. Death Row inmates have severe mental illness.
The task force also will look at recommendations to record all parole board clemency proceedings, expand jury pools to include licensed drivers as well as registered voters, and require judges to give jury instructions in “plain English” so they are more easily understood.
The task force, which convened nearly two years ago, will wrap up its meetings in November and begin drafting a final report to the governor and state legislators.
AP coverage is, "Ohio death penalty review panel to meet again," via the Huntington Herald-Dispatch.
The committee examining capital punishment in Ohio and reviewing possible changes to the state's death penalty law is ready to meet again.
The task force convened by Ohio Supreme Court Justice Maureen O'Connor is starting to wind up its work despite divisions over the role that geography and race play in determining who becomes eligible for the death penalty.
The committee, which meets Thursday in Columbus, recently proposed restricting the use of capital punishment by eliminating cases where an aggravated murder was committed during a burglary, robbery or rape.
Any such change would require lawmakers' approval.
More information is at the Joint Task Force to Review the Administration of Ohio's Death Penalty website.