Ohio Death Penalty Committee Looks at Racial Bias

Jul 19, 2012

An Ohio Supreme Court committee studying the state's capital punishment law plans to vote on recommendations today requiring the collection of data to detect racial bias in death penalty cases.

The data would include a review of past cases as well as collecting information in the future on all homicides that might be eligible for capital punishment.  Other recommendations would require prosecutors, lawyers and judges involved in death penalty cases to be trained to protect against racial bias.

Among precedents cited for collecting the data is a 2005 Associated Press study that found offenders who killed white victims were more likely to face a death sentence than those whose victims were black.

The task force is not debating whether the state should have the death penalty.