The Sunday Cincinnati Enquirer published the editorial, "It's time to review the death penalty." There are infographics at the link.
The death penalty has long been controversial, but opinions are shifting. A solid majority of Americans still favor the death penalty, but it is a shrinking number. Just a generation ago, 78 percent favored capital punishment and only 18 percent opposed it, according to the Pew Research Center. That has shrunk to 55 percent in favor and 37 percent opposed.
The task force recommendations are not unanimous and a dissenting minority report from some of the prosecutors in the group, which includes Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters, will be released. The final recommendations also need the review of Supreme Court Chief Justice Maureen O'Connor.
The death penalty is the law in Ohio, but opinions are evolving. If reforms are made, they should be done to improve the public's trust that the law is being applied fairly, justly and impartially.
The Enquirer also publishes OpEds on the subject. "The death penalty is unfair and should be eliminated," is by Bill Gallagher, a criminal defense attorney.
In 1981, Ohio reintroduced the death penalty as the ultimate punishment for what the law called "the worst of the worst" offenders. However, today's application of the death penalty has departed so far from the intent of the 1981 law that its own author, Ohio Supreme Court Justice Paul Pfeifer, now calls for its repeal.
A 2007 study by the American Bar Association underscores the massive failure of Ohio's death penalty. The study found Ohio fell short in 93 percent of the ABA's recommended guidelines for a fair and accurate death penalty system. To address Ohio's unacceptable inability to fairly apply and carry out the death penalty, a task force was formed by the Ohio Supreme Court and Ohio State Bar Association. Hamilton County's own prosecutor, Joe Deters, along with other legal experts were appointed and will soon release a report with 56 recommendations to make some incremental progress toward fairness in Ohio's death penalty.
"For 'worst of the worst' we seek ultimate punishment," is the OpEd by Joe Deters, the Hamilton County prosecutor.
The death penalty is a subject on which almost everyone seems to have a strongly held opinion.
People generally are either strongly in favor or strongly opposed to the death penalty.
However, it is the law in Ohio and as the elected prosecutor for Hamilton County, I will enforce it.
Earlier coverage of the Ohio death penalty study commission begins at the link. Also available, more recent, unrelated, Ohio news.