The Supreme Court of Ohio and the Ohio State Bar Association Joint Task Force to Review the Administration of Ohio's Death Penalty has issued a draft of its Final Report and Recommendations.
A group of prosecutors have also released a draft minority report. Both documents are via the Toledo Blade.
A round of stories today focuses on the prosecutors' minority report.
"Prosecutors criticize state death penalty review," is the AP report, via the Massillion Independent.
A committee that spent more than two years studying Ohio’s capital punishment law made several recommendations that are anti-death penalty, are one-sided and have a pro-defense bias, prosecutors said Tuesday in a dissenting report.
Many recommendations would tie the death-penalty system in knots, while others, such as those dealing with race, aren’t backed up by facts, according to the 49-page dissenting report.
One recommendation, for example, would require judges to report anyone in a death penalty case who “acted on the basis of race.”
"Prosecutors denounce death penalty task force report," is by Randy Ludlow for the Columbus Dispatch.
County prosecutors think that Ohio’s death-penalty laws and system “are already heavily tilted in favor of the defendant.”
Changes suggested by a majority of the Ohio Supreme Court Death Penalty Task Force would further tilt the system by protecting some suspects who deserve to die, argue prosecutors in Ohio’s three largest counties.
The Toledo Blade reports, "Execution panel labeled ‘off course’," by Jim Provance.
The task force, created two years ago by Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor and the Ohio State Bar Association, is wrapping up its final report to be released in May that will incorporate the objections of those who came out on the short end of votes for 56 recommendations the report will make.
Among the recommendations is taking execution off the table as an option if the defendant was severely mentally ill at the time of the crime or at the time of his scheduled execution. It calls for the end of so-called “felony murder,” crimes such as aggravated robbery, kidnapping, rape, and aggravated arson that can come with the death penalty attached if the victim dies in the process.
The task force also wants to open up elements of the state’s clemency process to more public scrutiny and would remove the death penalty as an option if the prosecutor relied on a jailhouse informant whose testimony was not corroborated by other evidence.
Not on the table for consideration by the 22-member task force under its original directive was the question of whether Ohio should have the death penalty in the first place. Nor was the panel permitted to consider a temporary moratorium on executions while such a review took place, something proposed by the American Bar Association several years ago.